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^itig^t of t^e (irbtr of ^t. (Srtgorj) t^e <§rtat, 




Elut eVl ^earoiat Xl6oc<;, lepw ivl /cvkXo).'' 

On seats of stone within the sacred place 
The reverend elders nodded o'er the case. 

Iliad, Book xviii. 503. 





Deak Sergeant Kobinson, 

Now that I have written the last line of the " Connaught 
Circuit," it is but natural that I should wish to present it 
to the public with the sanction of a name which will be cer- 
tain to procure for it a fair trial on its merits. And whose 
name could I desire in preference to the name of one who not 
alone as a leader on the Connaught Circuit has helped to 
maintain its proud traditions, but who, as * First Sergeant-at- 
Law,' stands in the foremost rank of the Bar? It is not 
fitting that I should speak here of the qualities that have won 
for you that position — of your urbanity as a gentleman, of 
your abihties as an advocate, of your learning as a lawyer, of 
your wisdom as a judge ; but I will speak of your kindness as 
a friend. That kindness has procured for me the permission, 
for which I thank you, to dedicate, as I now do, my book to 


Believe me to be always. 

Yours sincerely, 


OwER, Headford, 

Co. Galway. 

15th June, 1885. 

In Jlemoriam. 

This Work, which would have been out of the printer's 
hands at the close of the first week of the present month, 
was delayed in its publication by the sudden death of my 
learned and lamented friend, Sergeant Robinson. His 
name frequently occurred in the last chapters as the name 
of one yet living amongst us, and it seemed at first, 
therefore, necessary to recast several pages of the book ; 
but my able publishers have suggested the interleaving of 
what I now write. This seems the preferable course. 

I did dedicate this Work to him while he was yet living, 
as being my friend ; I now sadly dedicate it to his memory ! 
Honour to his name ! 



20th July, 1885. 


The title originally intended for this book was '* History of the 
Connaught Circuit." That title has been altered to " Anecdotes 
of the Connaught Circuit," because if it were a complete 
history, many a family must have had the pain inflicted on 
them of seeing much of their private history brought out 
from the gloom of the past. Such a "History" would be 
an intolerable outrage on society. My "Anecdotes," therefore, 
do not come, with few exceptions, to the near present. For 
this cause the celebrated " Galway Election Petition of 1872," 
though fresh in the minds of many, is not given, nor are 
other trials which may well find a place in some future His- 
tory of the Bar. I have selected the following from the 
many cases through which I have waded. The lawyers of 
the Circuit have left their foot -prints on the sands of time, 
and their memoirs I intersperse in the following pages. 


OwER, Headfori), County Galway, 
Ibth June, 1885. 




From Page 1 to 17. 

English Laws in Connaught in the thirteenth century — Case of Domi- 
nican Friars v. Archbishop of Tuam for excommunicating them, 1298 — 
The Byrnes of Wicklow plunder Exchequer — De Burghs shake off the 
power of England in the fourteenth century, and kept it shaken off for 
200 years — Fourteen Tribes of Galway — Pope Innocent YIII. grants the 
Mayor, Bailiffs, and Equals of the Town the power of electing their own 
Warden or gitasi Bishop — Mayor of Galway Case of 1497 — Tries, condemns, 
and executes his son for wilful murder — His House in the Dead Man's Lane 
— Tour in Connaught in the sixteenth century — Re-establishment of the 
power of England in the sixteenth century — Connaught Presidency Court, 
1569 — Division of Connaught into Counties — Composition of Connaught ? — 
The English suffer disastrous defeats from the Irish at the close of the six- 
teenth century — Marshal Bagnal, English General, slain at the Battle of the 
Yellow Ford, on the 14th August, 1598 — Sir Conyers Clifford slain at the 
Battle of the Curlew Mountains, 15th August, 1599. — His troops routed by 
Brian Oge O'Rorke. 


From Page 18 to 31. 

Circuits, Antiquity of — Sir John Davis Disbarred — Restored — Solicitor- 
General for Ireland — Foundation of Connaught Circuit, 1604 — Mayo Jail 
formerly at Cong — Strafford Inquisitions — Title of the Crown to the Province 
of Connaught — Counties of Roscommon, Sligo, and Mayo find for the 
Crown, 1635 — Noble conduct of the County Galway Jury — Find against the 
Crown — The Jury Imprisoned, Fined £48,000, and Martin Darcy, High 
Sheriff, cast into prison, where he dies of the treatment he received — Letter 
of Lord Strafford descriptive of the Trials — Second Trial in Galway, 1637 — 
Confiscation of the Connaught Counties — Wholesale Plunder, temp. Chas. I. 






From Page 32 to 55. 

Rebellion of 1641 — Confederation of Kilkenny — Patrick Darcy and 
Geoffrey Browne, great Catholic Lawyers of the Connaught Circuit — Trial of 
Lord Mayo, 1652 — Massacre of Protestants on the Bridge of Shruel, 1641 — 
Bishop of Killala saved from, sheltered by the Prior of the Abbey of Ross, 
and by Ulick Burke, of Castle Hacket, High Sheriff of the County Galway, 
1641 — The Down Survey — Inquisitions of 1584 — Transportation to Con- 
naught — Quit Rent?— Crown Rent? — Justice of the Common Pleas chal- 
lenges a Justice of the King's Bench to fight a Duel — Death of Patrick 


From Page 55 to 75. 

Connaught Catholic Lawyers, tempore James IL — Sir Toby Butler, 
citor-General, Memoir of — Counsellors Nugent, of Pallas ; Denis Daly, of Car 
rownakelly ; Peter Martyn, of Kilconnell ; Sir Henry Lynch, of Athavaillie 
Sir Robert Lynch ; Gerald Dillon, of Roscommon — Trial of Sir Thomagi 
Southwell for High Treason against James II. at Galway Assizes, 1689 — 
Catholic Judges removed by William III. — Confiscation by, of Carrentrila 
Estate — Case of Eileen Burke ; shoots two soldiers for arresting her father — 
Brought Prisoner to Dublin — Oflicer in charge falls in love with her — ^j 
Death of Sir John Hely, Chief Justice, on Connaught Circuit — The " Popery 
Laws" — Popery Cases — Brenncm v. Sir Tohy Butler — Protestant discoverers 
decreed Sir Toby's Estate, because he was a " Papist "— Murder of Dean 



From Page 75 to 92. 

Converts to Protestantism not trusted by Primate Boulter— Caulfields, 
of Donamon, of unbending rectitude— Chief Justice Caulfield a Miser — 
Grace before and after Meals, specimen of — The Stauntons — St. Leger, 
Baron — Pot- Luck — "House to be let, and not an Attorney within twelve 
miles" — Sherlock y. Annesley — Barons of Exchequer ordered into custody by 
Irish House of Lords — Priests found actually reading Mass — Wilful Murder 
— Abduction — Trial of Robert Martin, of Ballinahinch, for Murder of Lieu- 
tenant Joly— Murder of the Bodkins — Not a descendant of Murderers or 
Murdered now living. 



From Page 92 to 172. 

The Beautiful Miss Ambrose — A Dangerous Papist — Earl of Chesterfield 
— The Stuarts — Prince Edward — Her Majesty Queen Victoria's charming 
work — Popery Cases — Protestant Plaintiff recovers possession of lands of 
Catholic Defendant, for no other reason than that Defendant was Catholic — 
Winter v. Birmingham, and Bingham v. Blake — A Quo Warranto — Bex v. 
Crofton — Catholics disarmed — Colonel Eyre, Governor of Galway, arrests 
the Catholic servant of Robert Martin, of Ballinahinch, for carrying arms 
— Arms taken from him — Martin a Protestant in name, a Catholic at heart — 
Brings an Action to recover Arms — Recovers them — Flogs, fights, and runs 
Colonel Eyre through with a sword — Bex v. Morelly, Murder — Counsel for 
the Prisoner fights Counsel for the Crown — Convert Children bring Eject- 
ments against their Fathers being Catholics — A.t>. 1772, Catholics permitted 
to take Leases of Bog — Client presuming to Tax his Attorney's Costs — 
Rules as to Duelling — Quartet Duel on Horse-back — Plaintiff and his 
Counsel on one side —Defendant and his Attorney on the other — Child 
hoisted on men's shoulders to see Papa fight — Will of relapsed Papist held 
good — Only Cutting off a Fellow's Ears — The Gregorian Calendar — Fatal 
Duel between Colonel Martin, b.l., and James Jordan, b.l., both Members 
of the Connaught Circuit — George Robert FitzGerald — His mad career — Im- 
prisons his Father — Keeps him Chained to a Muzzled Bear — Patrick Randal 
M'Donnell — Chancery Hall — Timothy Brecknock — A Mock Almanack — 
Andrew Craig Murders Patrick Randal M'Donnell and Hipson — FitzGerald 
committed to Prison — Mayo Assizes, 1784-1786 — Riding the Circuit — Church 
of Castlebar — Assizes Sunday — Assizes Sermon — Trial of FitzGerald and 
Brecknock — FitzGerald an Accessory found guilty "on Murderer's Evidence — 
Right Hon. Denis Browne fights Mr. Bingham — Death of Andrew Craig- 
George Robert FitzGerald's daughter — Mr. O'Connor assumes the State and 
Title of Prince — Bex v. Keon — First Assistant Barristers — Catholics admitted 
to the Bar — Parliamentum Indoctum — Carting Juries — The Five Circuits — 
Civil Bills — Law-French — Law-Latin — County Court Judges — Hospitalities 
on Circuit — John Kirwan, b.l. — Sergeant Stanley — Seduction — Murder. 


From Page 173 to 197. 

1798 — Hangman's otium cum dignitate — Rebels shot in batches of ten— 
Captain Rawson refuses to shoot them — Captain flogs his Colonel — Colonel 
challenges Captain — Captain won't fight — Affianced won't marry Captain 



till lie fights — Fights — Shoots his Colonel — Marries — Barristers and Judges 
ride the Circuit in Military Array — Irish Parliament — Its Constitution — 
Hounded to Death by First Irish Chancellor — Lord Clare — Last Prime Ser- 
geant — Difference between Irish and English Sergeants-at-Law — The Coif — 
What is it ? — Irish Law Students in Ancient Times — Turned out of English 
Inns of Court — Lord Chancellor of Ireland complains to the King —Mr. 
Jiistice Fox — Fines Lord Enniskillen £200 for contempt of Court — Sergeant 
Duquerry — Mr. Justice Johnson — Found Guilty of Writing a Libel — Mr. 
Justice Fletcher — The Threshers — Crim. Con. — Guthrie v. Sterne — Speech of 
Mr. Phillips — Counsellor Hillas shot in a Duel by his Solicitor— Gal way 
Court-house — George J. Browne ? 


From Page 198 to 220. 

Breach of Promise — Lieutenant Blake, B.N., v. Widow Wilkins — Any Port 
in a Storm — Mr. Phillips, great Orator on the Circuit — His Speech — Ridi- 
cules his aged Client, the Widow — An Uncold Corpse— Wins a Verdict — 
Horsewhipped by his Client in the streets of Galway — Runs away — Jonathan 
Henn — Indolent — Mr. Kelly, the Attorney, brings him a brief— Orders 
Kelly to go to the Devil — Challenged — Apologised — One of the greatest 
Orators of the Circuit— John H. North — A great Orator also — Supporter of 
Catholic Emancipation — An advanced Liberal — The Bottle Riot in the 
Theatre Royal — Bottle flung by Orangemen at the Viceregal Box — Attorney- 
General prosecutes— North defends his Political Foes — Becomes Judge of 
Admiralty Court — John D'Alton, m.r.i.a. — Though not an Orator, one of the 
greatest ornaments of the Circuit — Bexy. Eev. John O'Connor., P.P. — Popery 
Laws again — Priest prosecuted for performing Marriage Service between 
a *' Papist" and a "Papist" who had been a Protestant — George Robert 
Daniel, k.c, Leader on the Circuit, prosecutes — Ridicules his own Client — 
Speech to the Jury — Expresses his disgust at holding brief — Traverser ac- 
quitted — The Lynches — Martin F. Lynch — Lines on his Death — Hex v. 
M'Guinness — Murder, 1820 — Husband Murders Wife — Discovers of himself 
to a passing Tailor — Sentenced to Death — Bex v. M^Cann — Murder, 1813 — 
Murderer a Butcher — Remarkable Discovery of, after ten years, 1823. 




Feom Page 221 to 306. 

Catholic Emancipation, 1829— A new Waggon, with Springs, purchased 
for the Bar — Mr. Briefless not allowed to travel Circuit on Public Coach — 
Lawyer-Lovers — Lego-Loving Lines to Bessy — Widows' Rights — Counsel's 
Opinion on, in Language of Poetry — Fees of Counsel in the Old Times be- 
fore us — " Three Shillings and Eightpence, with Fourpence for his Dinner" — 
Justice after Dinner — Judge's Charge — Gemmen of the Jury — The Thresh- 
ers — Murder of Murtagh Lavan, the Informer, in 1806 — Rex v. M'-Ginty — 
M'Ginty found guilty and executed for, 1810— ifea; v. Cnffe — Cuffe found 
guilty and executed for, 1830 — Whiteside, Memoir of —Pugnacious T. B. C. 
Smith -Attorney-General — O'Connell's Case, 1844 — Abstraction of Catholic 
Names from Jury List — Nevertheless Irish Judges hold Trial by such Jury 
good — Pronounced by English Judges ' ' a mockery, a delusion, and a 
snare " — Whiteside's ''Italy" — His glowing description of the " Tenebree " — 
Thelwall v. Yelverton — Mr. Scott, k.c. — Blake the Remembrancer — Marquis 
Wellesley, Lord Lieutenant — Marchioness a Catholic— Great Roll of the 
Pipe — Henry Baldwin, q.c— " Yoice of the Bar" — O'Finan, R. G. Bishop of 
Killala, v. Cavendish — Proposing the Health of the Duke of Wellington — 
Burning Petition of a Horse — Charles O'Malley, an Irish Dragoon — Deeds, 
not Memorials, should be registered — Mr. Justice Keogh, Memoir of — 
Keogh's Act enabling limited owners to make leases for R. C. Chapels — 
Daniel O'Connell — John B. West, k.c. — James Henry Blake, q.c. — What's 
a Gentleman ? — Kelly v. Young — Famine of 1847 — The Queen — The Pope — 
The Sultan— Connaught Bar Waiters — Vicissitudes of Families — Redmund 
P. O'Carroll, b.l. — J. Naish, Lord Chancellor — Father Tom Maguire — 
" To Hell with the Queen's Enemies"- -Bar Pic-nic — 22 o'clock — Progressive 
Development— George French, Q.c. — Ward v. Freeman — Action against a 
Judge — A Learned Reporter — '' Oh, no, they never mention me" — Flagranto 
delictu — Where's Valetta ? — A stupid Reporter — Polarity Speech — Indian 
Meal (Mail)— A Five Guinea Speech — O'Connor or O'Conor — Purcell's 
Acre — Grady v. Hunt — Reverend Theological Disputants— A Cow converted 
— "John, you stole the Cow" — Gal way Tailor's Case — Deceased Judges 
singing eternal Hallelujahs — General Maley's Case— Threatening to send 
Deponent's soul to Hell — Judge Half-seas Over — The mind, where situated — 
" Act of Contrition " with a sup in — Little v. Wingfield — Comparison between 
the Counsellors. 




From Page 306 to 338. 

Judge Keating, Memoir of — Counsel at tlie Clare Election, 1828, 1829 — 
Impassioned Eloquence of Daniel O'Connell — Catholic Emancipation — Chief 
Justice Monahan, Memoir of — Chief Justice Morris— John Blake, b.l. — 
Town of Gal way — Episode in Politics of — Sir Valentine Blake, Bart., m.p. — 
Sir John Blake, Bart., b.l. — James Kirwan, b.l. --The Curragh Stakes — 
John Andrew Kirwan, most amusing man— Francis Burke, ll.d.— Francis 
Burke, b.l., Senior — Journey from Galway to Cork, 1759— John Blake 
Dillon, B.L., M.p. — Thomas M'Nevin, b.l. — Henry Concannon, q.c— Re- 
porters' Laudations, Scale of Fees for— Gerald FitzGibbon, q.c. — Walter 
Bourke, Q.c. — Both with the War-paint on — "Thanks be to God, the 
longest Speech must have an end" — Walter M. Bourke — Murder of — 
Absenteeism — Mr. Justice Keogh on — Absentee Acts — Unprinted Statutes — 
Baron FitzGerald, Retirement of — Sergeant Robinson — Connaught Bar. 



As far as can be ascertained from 1604 to the Present Time. 


Andrews, Charles, Q.c, now on the Circuit, Father of the Connaught Bar, Crown 

Prosecutor, Co. Sligo. 
Armstrong, John, 1829-39. 
Armstrong, Williari), Q.C, 182 1 -63, Chairman of the Co. Londonderr}% 


Baker, Mathew, q.c, 1830-51. 

Baker, Robert, K.c, 1801-37. 

Bagot, Bernard W., 1845-58, of the Ballymoe family, Co. Gal way. 

Baldwin, Henry, Q.C, 1827-50, Judge of the Insolvent Court. 

Ball, Nicholas, 1816-29, Justice of the Common Pleas. 

Barker, Henry Oliver, ll.d., 1867-70, of the Stirling family, Co. Meath. 

Beytagh, , 1831-36. 

Beylagli, Edward ffrench, Q.C, now on the Circuit, of Cappagh, Co. Galway. 
Bird, William Seymour, now on the Circuit, Crown Prosecutor for the Co. Ros- 
common and Co. Town of Galway. * 
Black, William, 1843-45. 

Blake, Isidore, 1837-53, of the Tower Hill family, Co. Mayo. 
Blake, James Henry, Q.c, 1827-41. 

Blake, Sir John, Bart., 1784, of Menlough Castle, Galway. 
Blake, John Oge, dr. 1630-41. 
Blake, John, 1837-43. 
Blake, John, 1820-32. 

Blake, John Hubert, 1843-75, of the Holly Park family, Co. Galway. 
Blake, Oliver, 1720. 

Blake, Patrick J., Q.C, 1838-72, Chairman of Co. Fermanagh. 
Blake, Pat, 1775. 



Blake, Robert, 1801-6. 

Blake, Thomas, 1875-79, of the Tower Hill family, Co. Mayo. 

Blakeney, Charles, 1836-58, Judge, Queensland. 

Blakeney, Robert, K.C, 1799- 1839. 

Blossett, J., K.C, 1770-93, Father of the Connaught Bar. 

Bodkin, John, 1 727. 

Bodkin, , 1 801 -4. 

Bodkin, Ambrose, 1777- 

Bodkin, Martin, 1835-37, of the Annagh family, Co. Gahvay. 
Bodkin, Mathew M'Donnell, now on the Circuit, Professor of Law, University Col- 
lege, Stephen's Green, Dublin. 
Bodkin, John, 1730-60, of Carrowbeg, Tuam. 
Bournes, John, 1870-79. 
Boyd, Abraham, K.C, 1797-1813. 
Bourke, Oliver, 1 740. 

Bourke, Walter, Q.c, 1828-68, of Carrokeel, County Mayo, J.P. 
Bourke, Walter M,, 1862-64, murdered. 
Browne, A., Priiiie Sergeant, 1 790- 1 805. 
Browne, Dodwell Francis, ll.b., 1868-73, Advocate, Supreme Court, Ceylon, 

Colombo, of Rahins, Co. Mayo. 
Browne, Geoffrey, 1634, Envoy of the Confederate Catholics to Queen Henrietta in 

1647, and to the Duke of Lorraine in 1650. 
Browne, John, of Westport, 1680. 
Browne, George J,, 1790-1805. 
Browne, George, 1830-48. 
Browne, Henry, 1852-53. 

Browne, Henry Augu-^tus, 1834-46, of the Browne Mall family, Co. Mayo. 
Browne, Hon, James, Sergeant, 1770. 
Browne, Montague, County Mayo, 1824-32. 
Browne, Peter, 1700. 
Buchannan, Robert, J.P., 1845-84. 

Burke, Dominick, M.P., 1740- 1750, Recorder of Galway. 
Burke, Charles Granby, 1839-51, Master of the Court of Common PJeas, of the 

Marble Hill family, Co. Galway. 
Burke, Francis, 1810-44, of the Ower family, Co. Galway. 
Burke, Heniy O'Neil, now on the Circuit, Crown Prosecutor for the County Sligo, of 

the Holywell family, Co. Mayo. 
Burke, Martin Joseph, 1838-44. 
Burke, Oliver, 17 10. 
Burke, Oliver J., now on the Circuit, author of these pages, of the Ower family, Co." 

Burke, William, 1844-52, of the Ballydugan family, Co. Galway. 
Burke, William Joseph, 1849-57, j.?., of Ower, County Galway. 
Burke, William M., 1810-14, J.P., of Ballydugan, County Galway. 
Butler, Sir Toby, Solicitor-General, 1688 [buried in Crusheen Catholic Churchyard, 

Co. Clare]. 
Butler, Walter R., 1846-67, of Cregg Castle, County Galway. 



Carey, Henry, 1836-37. 

Carleton, John William, Q.C., 1840-77. 

Cavendish, R., 1842-51, of the Devonshire family. 

Casserly, James, 1833-52. 

Caulfiekl, St. George, 1748, Chief Justice, K.B., of Donamon, Co. Roscommon. 

Caulfield, William, 1700, Justice of the King's Bench, of Donamon. 

Clancy, , 1803-40. 

Clarke, , 18 1 1-24. 

Clarke, , cir. 1630. 

Close, James, Q.C., 1837-51. 

Cogan, Patrick O., 1840-55. 

Concannon, Henry, ll.d., Q.C, 1840-69. 

Concannon, Mathew, cir. 173O5 Attorney-General for Jamaica. 

Coneys, Thomas, 1798- 18 19, of Headford, Co. Galway. 

Coneys, John, 1804-6, of Headford, Co. Galway. 

Conmee, , 1797- 1806. 

Conmee, Mathew, 1845-53. 

Connolly, Mathew, 1830-41. 

Costello, Edward, 1 84 1 -76, Crown Prosecutor, Co. Mayo. 

Costello, John, 1815-26. 

Courtenay, David Rutledge, 18 12-51. 

Crampton, George R., 1850-72. 

Crampton, Philip, 1811-30, Justice of the Queen's Bench. 

Crawford, George, 1844-50, Australia, Judge. 

Crofton, , 1841-48. 

Crofton, Sir Oliver, i745- 

Crofton, Charles, 1827-28. 

Crofton, Laurence Harman, 1828-31. 


D'Alton, John, M.R.I.A., 1815-28. 

Daly, Denis, 1680, Justice of the Common Pleas. 

Daly, Denis, 1775. 

Daly, M., 18 10- 15. 

Daly, Peter, cir. 1688. 

Daly, St. George, 1780-92, Justice of the King's Bench, of the Dunsandle family. 

Daniel, George Robert, K.C., 1797-1836, of Auburn, Co. Westmeath. 

Daniel, Henry, 1832-34. 

Darcy, Dominick, 1843-51, of the Welfort family, Co. Galway. 

Darcy, James, 1798. 

Darcy, John, 1780-1790, of the New Forest family, Co. Galway. 

Darcy, John, 1 797-1804, of Hounswood, Co. Mayo. 

Darcy, , 1839-44, of Clifden, Co. Galway. 

Darcy, Patrick, 1627-68, Chancellor of Confederation of Kilkenny. 





Davis, Thomas, 1839-48. 

Digby, J. G., K.c, 1790-18 10. 

Digby, Robert, 1797- 18 15. 

Dillon, Gerard, cir. 1634. 

Dillon, Sir Gerald, 1690, Recorder of Dublin. 

Dillon, John Blake, M.P., 1843-64. 

Dillon, , 1630. 

Dillon, Lucas, cir. 1637. 

Dillon, Luke P., now on the Circuit, Crown Prosecutor for the Co. Roscommon. 

Dillon, Robert, dr. 1624. 

Dillon, Thomas, 1606. 

Dolphin, H. F., 1797- 1826. 

Dolphin, Oliver, 1836-80, of Turos, Co. Galway, j.P. 

Donelan, , 1793-1801, of Ballydonelan, Co. Galway. 

Donelan, Sir James, 1620, of St. Peter's Well, Co. Galway, Chief Justice of the 

Common Pleas, Father of. 
Donelan, Loughlin, cir. 1660, of St. Peter's Well, Father of. 
Donelan, Nehemiah, 16S0, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, of St. Peter's Well. 
Duggan, William, 1843-64. 
Duke, Robert, 1824-29. 
Dunne, Richard, 1828-39. 
Duquerry, Sergeant, I770- 


Eccles, Hugh, 1836-48. 

Ellis, W. H., 181 1-44, Crown Prosecutor for Province of Connaught. 

Ellis, W., 1637. 

Everard, Richard, 1810-34. 

Eyre, Edward, 1727. 


Fallon, John, 1862-68, now of Runnimead, Co. Roscommon. 

Fallon, Malachy, 1827-38, Assistant Barrister, Co. Limerick. 

Farrell, Edward, 1856-57. 

Fenton, Abraham Boyd, 1840-52, Queen's Advocate, the Gambia. 

Ferguson, William Dwyer, 1839-51, Registrar, Court of Chancery. 

Finn, Robert N., 1837-45. 

Fitzgerald, Francis, 1835-69, Baron of the Exchequer. 

FitzGibbon, Gerald, Q.c, 1836-57, Master in Chancery. 

Fitzjames, James, cir. 1750. 

Fitzpatrick, Patrick, 1839-60. 

Fox, Luke, 1800-4, Justice of the Common Pleas. 

Fox, Peter, 1 797-181 1. 

Frazer, , 1833-41. 



French, Arthur, 1827-35. 

French, George, Q.C., 1797-1851, Father of the Connaught Bar, of the De Freyne 

French, Robert, 1740, Justice of the Common Pleas, 1745. 
French, Robert, 1845-52. 
French, , 1766. 


Galbraith, James, 1848-55, of the Cappard family, Co. Galway. 

Garvey, Francis, 1840-60, of the Morysk family, Co. Mayo. 

Geoghegan, Richard, 1798-1810, of Bunnowen Castle, Co. Galway, j. P. 

Gibbs, George, 1831-31. 

Gildea, Anthony Knox, J.P., D.L., Clooncormack, Co. Mayo, 1841-50. 

Golding, Hyacinth, 1855-82. 

Gorges, Hamilton, 1841-48. 

Grayden, Alexander, 1841-48, 

Guthrie, John, 1797-1836. 


Handcock, William, 1680, Recorder of Galway. 

Hillas, Robert W., 1797-1814. 

Harkan, John, 1842-70. 

Henn, Jonathan, Q.C., 1813-19, Chairman, Co. Donegal. 

Hilton, William, 1630, Attorney- General for Province of Connaught. 

Hodgens, Albert, 1865-73. 

Holmes, John Galway, 1834-61. 


Ireland, Richard, 1839-49. 
Ireland, Samuel, 1840-61. 
Irwin, George O'Maley, 1826-33. 

Jennings, J. W., 1824-36. 

Jennings, Thomas, 1832-41, of Ironpool, County Galway. 

Johnstone, Robert, 1798-1802, Justice of the Common Pleas. 

Jones, James Campbell, 1845. 

Jones, Gore, 1845-59- 

Jordan, Edmund, 1846-80, of the Rosslevin Castle family, Co. Mayo. 

Jordan, James, 1760-86, of Rosslevin Castle (killed in a duel, 1786, by Col. Martin). 

Joyce, John, now on the Circuit, of the Merview family, Co. Galway. 

Jurdan, Edmund, 1 634, of Rosslevin. 


Keatinge, John, 1660, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, 1679-89. 
Keatinge, Richard, 1814-40, Judge of the Court of Probate. 



-, 1820-49. 

Kelly, - 

Kelly, Charles, Q.c, 1840-79, of Newtown, Co. Gal way, County Court Judge, Clar"er 

Kelly, Denis, 1797-98, of Castlekelly, Co. Galway. 

Kelly, Thomas, cir. 1775, Justice of the Common Pleas. 

Kelly, George A., now on the Circuit. 

Keogh, William, 1841-51, Justice of the Common Pleas. 

Keogh, William, 1872-79. 

Keon, M., 1806-13. 

Kirwan, James, K.c, 1790-1802, of the Castle Hacket family, Co. Galway. 

Kirwan, John, K.C, 1793- 18 19, of the Dalgan Park family, Co. Mayo. 

Kirwan, John Andrew, D.L., of Hillsbrook, Co. Galway, brother of. 

Kirwan, Miles, 1838-40. 

Knox, , 1814-29. 

Knox, Francis, 1798- 1802. 
Kurwaun. J., 1620. 


Lea, John, i8oo-6. Secretary of the Connaught Bar Society. 

Lefroy, Thomas, Q.C, 1834-57, Bencher of the King's Inns, County Court Judge, 

Down, Chancellor of the Diocesan Court of Down, Connor, and Dromore. 
Lloyd, Bartholomew, Q.C, 1832-63. 
Lloyd, Richard P., 1833-84, sometime Father of the Bar, unanimously elected a \ 

life-member of the Society. \ 

Lopdell, John, 1820-25, of Raheen Park, Co. Galway. 
Lynch, John F., 1834-53. 
Lynch, Martin F., 1793- 1826. 
Lynch, Thomas Fitzlsidore, 1630. 

Lynch, Thomas FitzMarcus, 1630-41, Recorder of Galway. 
Lynch, Sir Henry, 1670, Bart., Baron of Exchequer, 1687. 
Lynch, Walter J., 1841-49. 
Lyster, Mathew, 1745. 


MacCarthy, B., 1799-1800. 

Macan, John, K.C, 1816-34, Commissioner of the Court of Bankruptcy. 

Mahon, James, 1839-44. 

Mahon, James, 1798 -1840. 

MacCausland, Sir Richard, 1840-54, Knight, ex- Recorder of Singapore. 

MacCuUagh, William Torrens, 1838-38, LL.b., in 1863 (assumed the name Torrens) 
M.P., author of •' Lectures on the Study of History," " Industrial History of Free 
Nations," now of the English Bar. 

MacDermot, , 1797-99. 

MacDermot, George, 1872-81. 

MacDermot, The, Prince of Coolavin, Q.C, Co. Sligo, ex-Solicitor-General for Ire- 

McDermot, Roe, 1841-41. 



McDermot, Oge, 1637. 

McDermot, William, 1831-45, Chairman of the Co. Kerry. 

MacDonnell, , 1810-10. 

MacDonnell, Edward, 1843-53. 

MacDomiell, J., 1797-1821. 

Maguire, Edward, 1853-59, High Sheriff of the Co. Leitrim, 1858. 

MacNevin, Thomas, 1839-42. 

MacTernan, Hugh, d.l., r.m., 1869-71. 

Malley, George Orme, Q.C, now on the Circuit, Crown Prosecutor for the Counties 

of Leitrim, Sligo, and Mayo. 

Marees, , 1687. 

Martin, James, 1830-37. 

Martyn, Andrew, 1828-35. 

Martyn, M. J., 1845-45. 

Martin, Richard, 1688. 

Martin, Richard, 1780-93, M.P., of Ballinahinch, Colonel of the Galvvay Volunteers. 

Martyn, Peter, 1660-87, Justice of Common Pleas. 

Millar, J. B., 1813-44. 

Molloy, , 1840-48. 

Monahan, James Henry, C.j., 1829-47. 

Monahan, James Henry, Q.c, now on the Circuit. 

Monck, W. Stanley, now on the Circuit. 

Moore, Edmund J., 1841-46. 

Moore, George P., 1797- 1820. 

Moore, George P., 1813-13. 

Moore, George, 18 13- 13. 

Moore, John Hubert, 1 798-1821. 

Morris, Michael, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, of Spiddal, Co. Gahvay, 1850- 



Nash, George, 1875-79. 

Nolan, Edward, 1815-39. 

Nolan, Francis, Q.C, now on the Circuit, Crown Prosecutor, Co. Galway, of the Bal- 

linderry family. 
Nolan, James, 1867-74, of Ballymacurly, Co. Roscommon. 
Nolan, John, J. p., 1837-45, of Ballinderry, Co. Galway. 
Norris, Thomas, 1837-39. 
North, John, Q.C, M.r., Judge of the Court of Admiralty, 1813 30. 


O'Bierne, G. H., 1804-6. 
O'Carroll, Redmund, 1837-46. 

O'Connor, , 1839-39. 

O'Connor, Charles, 1880-83. 




O'Conor, Denis, 1834-41. 

O'Conor, Henry, 1838-38. 

O'Conor, Mathew, 1822-40, of Mount Druid, Co. Roscommon, j.p. 

O'Conor, Roderick, 1820-49, of Milltown, Co. Roscommon, j.p. 

O'Donel, Charles Joseph, 1846-69, Chief Magistrate of DubHn Metropolitan Police. 

O'Dowd, James, 1833-48, Solicitor to the Customs. 

O'Fallon, James, 1810-41, Assistant Barrister, Co. Limerick. 

O'Flahertie, Roderick, cir. 1640.* 

O'Flaherty, Christopher P., now on the Circuit, Crown Prosecutor for the Counties d! 

Gal way. Mayo, and Town of Gal way. 
O'Garra, Captain, 1620. 
O'Hara, William, 1782. 

O'Hara, James, 1772, Recorder of Gal way for 60 year?. 
O'Hara, Robert Patrick, 1 86 1-68. 
O'Hara, Robert Francis, now on the Circuit. 
O'Hara, William, 1832-39, Recorder of Gal way. 
O' Kelly, Hymayne, cir. 1640. 

O'Leary, John O'Connell, 1861-64, Judge of Bombay Presidency, deceased. 
O'Malley, Charles, 1824-40. 
O'Malley, Charles, now on the Circuit. 
O'Malley, Henry, 1846-51. 
O'Moore, Edmund, 1850-50. 

Ormsby, , 1797-98. 

Ormsby, Robert I., 1620. 


-, 1780. 

Patterson — 

Persse, Richard D., 1859-79, Recorder of Galway, ^/ic^tfaj^i/, of the Roxborou^^h family, 

Co. Galway. 
Phibbs, Owen, 1844-53. 
Phillips, Charles, 1812. 

Pigot, David R., 1848-57, now Master of the Court of Exchequer. 
Plunket, John H., 1826-32, Solicitor-General of New South Wales. 
Plunket, William, 1801-4. 
Powel, Eyre, 1841-45. 


Ramsay, — 
Rickard, R., 1630. 

-, 1833-39- 

* During the wars that desolated the Province of Connaught between the O' Flaherties and 
the Burkes in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the town of Galway suffered so much that the 
following devout prayer, cut on a stone tablet, was set over the west gate of the town — " From the 
ferocious O' Flaherties, good Lord, deliver us." And as to the O' Flaherties or O'Flahertys and the 
MacWilliam Burkes it was wisely enacted that "nayther O nor Mac should nayther strutt nor 
swagger through ye streets of Galway.'* 


Robinson, James, First Sergeant, now on the Circuit. 

Roper, , 1798-99. 

Roper, William, 1S49-1875, deceased. 

Rorke, , 1843-44. 

Rorke, Lawrence, 1835-38. 

Rutledge, David Watson, 1837-52, J.P., High Sheriff, 1851, late Captain, South 

Mayo Rifles. 
Ryan, , 1836-40. 

Saint Leger, Sir J., 1720, Baron of the Exchequer. 
Scott, Edward, K.c, 1810. 

Seymour, Thomas, 1820-34, J.P., of Ballymore Castle, Lieutenant- Colonel of the 
Galway Militia, High Sheriff of the King's County, 1859. 

Shanley, , 1806-10. 

Shaw, Robert, 1 740. 

Shone, J. Allan, 1840-59. 

Sidney, William J., Q.C., 1850-66. 

Skelton, Walter Butler, 1836-48. 

Smith, William, T791-1810. 

Stanley, Edmund, 1780-99, Prime Sergeant. 

Staunton, James, r/r. 1720. 

Staunton, John, M.P., cir. 1 700. 

Staunton, John, 1728. 

Staunton, John, 1748. 

Staunton, John, 1772. 

Staunton, Thomas, cir, 1740. 

Stritch, A. R., 1840-59. 

Stritch, John R., now on the Circuit. 


Taylor, John F., now on the Circuit. 

Todd, Charles H., 1840-70, ll.d,, q.c. Chancellor of the United Diocesan Court of 

Derryand Raphoe. 
Trench, Frederick Le Poer, now on the Circuit, of the Clancarty family, Crown 

Prosecutor for the Counties of Galway, Leitrim, and Roscommon. 
Treston, Lucas A., r.m., 1849-63. 


Vandeleur, Thomas Burton, 1790- 1822, Justice of the King's Bench, of the Kilrush 
family, Clare. 


Walker, F. Chambers, K.c, 1830-52. 
Walker, W., 1839-40. 


Walsh, Richard Hussey, 1856-57, first Roman Catholic Professor of Political 
Economy, Trinity College, Dublin, "promoted to a Government Office in the 
Island of the Mamitius." [Bar Book MS., p. 271.] 

Walsh, Thomas, 1837-47. 

Webber, Charles T., 1830-52. 

Webber, Daniel, 1 798-18 15, m.p. for Armagh. 

West, John Beatty, k.c, m.p., 1816-35. 

West, Henry, Q.c, 1835-79, Chairman of the Co. Wexford. 

White, Thomas Warren, 1839-75, appointed permanent Steward of the Bar 
Circuit, 17th June, 1843. [Connaught Bar Book MSS. 

Whiteside, James, 1832-34, Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench. 

Whitestone, , K.C, 1798-1831, father of the Bar. 

Williams, J., k.c, 1797-1805, father of the Bar. 

Woodroffe, William, 1849-55. 

Workman, John Harlowe, 1841-48. 

Wynne, James, 1829-34, of the Hazlevvood family, Co. Sligo. 



EARS have elapsed since the writer of these pages 
devoted a summer vacation to the writing of the 
History of that Circuit to which he belongs, and to 
which he owes so many happy memories. It was 
amid the noise and din of the Assizes, that the 
questions occurred to him — When were those Assizes first 
established, who established them, and what were the causes 
that led to their establishment ? Were there from the beginning 
trials of interest on this circuit, and was that interest of a 
religious, a political, or a romantic nature ? Who were the judges 
that presided at those trials, and who the lawyers that were 
engaged on either side ? Did those lawyers forget their clients' 
interest when the influences of place and power were arrayed against 
them, or did they by their learning in the law protect the oppressed 
from the oppressions of the oppressor ? When had the Connaught 
Bar Society a place for the first time on the Connaught Circuit, 
and who were they whose names are inscribed on its roll ? These 
and other questions of interest connected with the circuit have 
been the subject of much careful research on the part of the writer 
amongst the records of our country. The results of his inquiries 
are contained in the following pages. 

The Crown of England, from the conquest by Henry II., until 
the middle of the reign of Edward III., exercised, as appears from 
the records of our courts, a wide jurisdiction in this country. And 
the records are not bad criterions of the extent of English law and 



power at different epochs in Ireland. During the reigns of Henry 
III., Edward I., Edward II., and Edward III., the plea rolls are 
large and well written. Plea follows plea in all the regularity of 
form and precedent. Cases were heard in Chancery before the 
Lord Chancellor ; writs were issued, and mandamuses granted in 
the King's Bench on the application of suitors. The only case 
that we shall notice, illustrative of this proposition, is that of 
The Prior and Friars of St. Dominic v. T he Archbishop of Tuam, 
Archdeacon Bland, and others, a.d. 1298. The question at issue 
was conversant with the visitorial powers of the Archbishop of 
Tuam, from which the plaintiffs claimed exemption. The Domini- 
can Friars had been summoned to attend a Visitation, which the 
Archdeacon, acting for the Archbishop, held at Athenry. They 
did attend, but under a protest, delivered in loud and unmeasured 
language ; and they abused the Archdeacon so grossly that he 
excommunicated them. Now, an excommunication in those, as 
in more modern times, was attended with serious consequences. 
The excommunicated were not admitted into the body of the 
church ; their place was in an ante-chamber, called the Galilee ; 
and forty days after the writ of excommunication was filed in 
the Court of Chancery, the Lord Chancellor was empowered 
to issue a writ de excommunicato capiendo for the caption 
of the excommunicated. Under this writ they might have been 
arrested, and committed for an indefinite time to prison. Not 
satisfied with the excommunication which had been fulminated by 
the Archdeacon, the Archbishop issued a proclamation, whereby he 
forbade all Christians from entering their church, and from supply- 
ing them with either food or alms. The friars, on the 11th of 
February, 1298, applied to the Lord Chancellor for a mandamus, 
which was granted, directing the Archbishop " that, instanter and 
without any manner of delay whatsomever, he recal his proclama- 
tion and inhibition, and further that he abstain from doing such 
grievances in times hereafter to come.'^ To this gentle advertise- 
ment the Archbishop made return — '* That he never at any time 
gave offence to the friars, but on the contrary it was always his 
interest and purpose to defend and favour them in charity and love, 
if their own demerits did not stand in their way ; and, if he had 
done any injury to the said reverend community by his said 


proclamation and inhibition, he would, with all speed, cause the 
same to be revoked, and as to the Archdeacon, he would cause him 
to undo whatever he had unduly done, and would inhibit him for 
the future from repeating the grievances complained of/' To this 
return the plaintiffs, by their lecturer, Adam de Large, and the 
king's attorney-general, John de Ponte, replied that the said Arch- 
bishop had made and published said proclamation and inhibition, 
that the plaintiffs had applied to him for a remedy, and he refused 
them, and upon this replication they offered to join issue. Upon 
this the Archbishop gave security that he would compel the Arch- 
deacon to recal all that had been done ; and if he did not do so, he 
granted that the Sheriff of Connaught might distrain him (the 
Archbishop) until the same were done, and so ended this branch of 
this once memorable case. But the friars next proceeded, in the 
King's Bench, against the Archdeacon, and damages were laid 
at £1,000. His plea was one of justification, upon which issue 
was joined, and the case set down for trial ; but when it was called 
on, the defendant did not appear. 

A precept then issued to the Sheriff of Connaught, commanding 
him to distrain the Archdeacon, by his lands and goods, and to 
have his body before the Chief Justice on the Quindecem of Easter 
next following. What was further done in the matter does not 
appear. We can, however, thereby discern that the English laws 
were then accepted and in force in the countries west of the 

The Superior Courts of Law were, in 1300, held at Collet's Inn, 
outside the walls of the City of Dublin, on the ground on which 
Exchequer Street now stands. The lawj^ers were then lodged in 
this Inn, and the Exchequer was located there also ; but in 1348, 
upon a day when the Lord Deputy and the garrison were absent, 
and whilst the Courts were sitting, and the causes at hearing, the 
Byrnes, whose descendants frequent our Courts novv-a-days, making 
a swoop from their rocky homes in the Wicklow Mountains, came 
down upon the money-chests, put the judges to flight, demolished 
the Inn, and returned homewards laden with plunder. The 
lawyers, we lament to state, in place of fighting, ran away ; but we 
take comfort in this high probability, that they "lived to fight 
another day." 


About the year 1337, the power of England commenced to 
decline in the Province of Connaught, and before the middle of the 
fourteenth century it had all but vanished. In one place, however, 
an English colony continued to preserve English laws, manners, and 
customs, and that was the w^alled town of Galway. Thenceforth for 
two hundred years the King's writ did not run in other places beyond 
the Shannon. To understand how so disastrous a state of things 
arose, it is necessary to bear in mind the great influence of the 
powerful family of the De Burghs, and the position they held in 
the west of Ireland. Amongst the companions in arms of William 
the Conqueror, when in 1066 he invaded England, was his half- 
brother, Kobert De Burgh, w^ho, having fought at the battle of 
Hastings, was created Earl of Cornwall. The name De Burgh is de- 
rived by Sir Edward Coke, in his chapter on *' Tenure by Burgage," 
from the towns or burghs where they dwelt.^ Naturally, the Con- 
queror bestowed vast possessions upon his brother, whose descendant 
inthe next century, William FitzAdelm de Burgh, Lord Lieutenant 
of Ireland, accompanied his cousin Henry II. in his invasion of that 
country; and to his son Kichard De Burgh, created ''Lord of 
Connaught,'^ was made a grant of the Province of Connaught '^ as 
a lordship ; " and he, at his death, in 1243, left two sons, Walter, 
Lord of Connaught, who became Earl of Ulster, and William Oge, 
or the younger, from whom the De Burghs of Clanricarde and 
Mayo are descended. Walter left one son, Piichard, the Red 
Earl of Ulster, and Lord of Connaught, whose grandson, William, 
Earl of Ulster and Lord of Connaught, was brutally murdered at 
his Castle, near Carrickfergus, on Easter Sunday, 1333. On his 
murder, the Earldom of Ulster, and Lordship of Connaught, 
descended to his only daughter, Elizabeth De Burgh, who after- 
wards became the wife of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, second son of 
Edward III., King of England, and thus the Earldom of Ulster and 
Lordship of Connaught were conveyed to the Eoyal Family ; and 
finally, on the accession of Edward IV., merged in the Crown. 
Now, the said William Oge, younger brother of Walter, Earl of 
Ulster, was father of Sir William the Grey, who left several sons, 
viz.: — Sir Ulic De Burgh, ancestor of the Earls of Clanricarde; 
Sir Edmund, ancestor of the Viscounts and Earls of Mayo ; Sir 

* Coke Littleton, 109a. 


Eedmund, ancestor of the Burkes of Castlehacket, now denominated 
of Ower, in the County of Galway ; Sir Thomas, afterwards Lord 
Treasurer of Ireland ; John, from whom sprung John De Burgh, 
Archbishop of Tuam ; and Sir Henry. Those sons of Sir William 
the Grey, seeing that by English law their cousin Elizabeth had 
inherited the entire province of Connaught, besides the Earldom of 
Ulster, the Lordship of Meath, and Honour of Clare in Thomond, 
of all of which they would each have their share by Brehon Law, 
abjured the English laws and language, shook off the power of Eng- 
land, became more Irish than the Irish, and, under colour of Irish 
law, seized on the whole Western Province. The town of Galway, 
however, oscillated in its allegiance, sometimes to the ClanricardeF, 
other times to the Crown, while more times it acted independently 
of both. How great soever the power of the De Burghs in the 
west of Ireland, it is still certain that they would never have been 
able to shake off the power of England, if the circumstances of the 
times had not been favourable to their project. At first the 
Plantagenet kings thought more of France than of preserving their 
Irish lordship ; and later on, the Wars of the Koses wasted the 
strength of Britain, and made the reconquest of the west of Ireland 
for the time an impossibility. It was only the strong arm of 
the Tudors that restored in the west the laws of England 
which had existed there for a century and a-half after the 

As the town of Galway holds a prominent place in the history 
of Connaught, and as it will be frequently mentioned in these pages, 
a short account of its origin and its inhabitants will be acceptable 
to the reader. Antiquarians differ as to the derivation of its name; 
and we cannot safely place reliance on what they tell us about 
Galway at any period prior to the invasion of Henry II. ; but it is 
probable that a town existed there long previous to that epoch, 
since its advantageous position at the mouth of the river joining 
Lough Corrib with the sea, must have early attracted attention. 
At the dawn of its authentic history (a.d. 1124), we find that a 
strong castle was built for the protection of the town, both of which, 
within the twenty-five succeeding years, were taken and destroyed 
by the army of the King of Munster. But the buildings of that 
day, if easily destroyed, were also easily restored ; and the town 




lingered on until shortly after the Conquest, when new vigour was" 
infused into it by the settlement within its walls of certain noble 
and enterprising families, who are to this day known by the 
appellation of '' The Tribes of Galway.'^ The founders of these 
tribes were of noble birth ; some of them are stated to have been 
officers in the armies of the De Burghs, when these last came to 
conquer and to plant themselves in the land ; others won their 
escutcheons on the sands of Palestine; but all settling by some 
happy chance in the western town, and probably urged by the 
advantages of its position, devoted themselves to commerce, and 
won wealth in their dealings, first with Spain and the rest of the 
south of Europe, and later on with the West Indies. In this they 
resembled the aristocracy of many Italian cities, above all, of 
Venice, the vast mercantile transactions of whose untitled noblesse, 
the oldest in Europe, dating from the fall of the Roman Empire, 
are recounted in history, and are celebrated by the genius of 
Shakespeare. Commerce and civilization ever go hand in hand; 
and so the inhabitants of the town of Galway had acquired habits 
far in advance of the habits of the people that surrounded them. 
English writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries speak in 
the highest terms of the people of the town — of their dress, their 
manners, their private residences, and their public buildings ; and 
enough still remains of the grand old houses of the chiefs of the—, 
tribes to prove that such praises were well deserved. "I 

The tribes were fourteen in number — Athy, Blake, Bodkin, 
Browne, D'Arcy, Deane, Ffaunt, Ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, 
Martin, Morris, and Skerrett. All these families (except, as we 
believe, Deane and Ffaunt) still possess large properties in the 
Province of Connaught, and hold amongst the aristocracy an 
honoured place, such as naturally belongs to ancient lineage, high 
character, and competent means. One of the Athys was Treasurer 
of Connaught, so far back as 1388. In 1290 Richard Blake was 
Portreeve of Galway. The Blakes of the Ardfry branch have been 
ennobled by the title of Barons of Wallscourt. A baronetcy was 
conferred in 1622 on Sir Valentine Blake, whose descendant. Sir 
Valentine, the fourteenth baronet, now resides at Menlough Castle, 
the ancient dwelling-place of his race. 

The Bodkins spring from the renowned race of the FitzGeralds 


of Desmond. Thomas Bodkin was Mayor of Galway in 1506. 
The Brownes were amongst the earliest of the English invaders. 
The great ancestor of the D'Arcy family, Sir John D'Arcy, was 
Chief Governor of Ireland under the 1st and 2nd Edwards, and his 
descendant, James D'Arcy, was Vice-President of Connaught in 
the reign of Elizabeth, and served as Mayor of Galway in 1602. 
His son, Patrick D'Arcy, of whom we shall have to speak, was an 
honour to the bar, and the glory of the Connaught Circuit. Two 
branches of the family of Ffrench have been raised to the peerage — 
those of Castle Ffrench, and Ffrench-Park ; and one of the name, 
John Ffrench, was Mayor of Galway in 1538. The ancestor of the 
Ffrenches accompanied William the Conqueror to England. The 
Joyces came to Ireland in the reign of Edward I., and have given 
their name to a territory in the west of the County of Galway. The 
Kirwans have given to literature and science an eminent philosopher, 
Richard Kirwan, the chemist. They are a truly ancient race ; and 
one of their name was Mayor in 1530. The family of Lynch gave 
to Galway, in 1274, the first Provost of whom we have any account; 
and the first Mayor, a.d. 1485, was Pierce Lynch. This race is 
old amongst the oldest. The branch of Castle Carra was raised to 
the rank of Baronet in 1622, and the Right Reverend John Lynch, 
Catholic Bishop of Killala, was author of the celebrated book, 
** Cambrensis Eversus." Oliver Martyn, the ancestor of the 
Martyns, is said to have won, in the Holy Wars, the heraldic 
bearings of his family from Richard Coeur de Lion. William 
Martyn was Mayor of Galway in 1519. The Morris family settled 
in Galway at a very early period ; and we find one of the name 
Sheriff (or, as it was then called. Bailiff) of the town, so far back as 
1486, and another, William Morris, was Mayor in 1527. The 
present Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, the Right Honourable 
Michael Morris, is the representative of this ancient race. One of 
the Skerretts was Provost of Galway in 1378 ; and the family of 
Skerrett gave to the town several of its Mayors in early times. 

Previous to 1396 Galway was a corporate town by prescription; 
but in that year a charter was granted by Richard II. ; and 
in 1484 Richard III. granted another, by which its rights and 
privileges were greatly increased. In this latter year also, the 
Pope, at the request of the inhabitants, approved of the act of the 


Archbishop of Tuam, who had released the town from his juris- 
diction, and had erected its principal Church (that of St. Nicholas) 
into a Collegiate Church, to be governed by a Warden and eight 
Vicars, the right of presentation being vested in the Mayor, Bailiffs, 
and " Pares/' the peers or equals of the town^ for ever. 

Although our purpose is to write of the Connaught Circuit, 
still we may be pardoned if we linger longer on the times which 
preceded its creation, with the view of giving a better idea of the 
state of the country and of the town at that period ; all the more 
shall we hope for pardon, as we purpose to relate a story of punish- 
ment of crime, such as for the love of justice it displayed stands 
perhaps alone in modern history. Such a narration of justice must 
find a fitting place in this Prologue to the History of the Con- 
naught Circuit. 

In 1493 James Lynch Fitz-Stephen was Mayor of Galway. In 
the course of his mercantile transactions with Spain he had found 
it necessary to visit that country, where, when at Cadiz, he was 
hospitably entertained at the house of a wealthy merchant, whose 
name was Gomez. Gomez had an only son, a young man of nine- 
teen, the pride and the hope of his declining years, and Lynch, on 
preparing for his homeward voyage, begged of Gomez to permit his 
son to accompany him to Galway, assuring him that he would treat 
him with more than a father's care. With such assurances the 
young man was permitted to depart, and after a short and delightful 
voyage they arrived in Galway. The hospitalities of the town were 
then profuse, and the young Spaniard was everywhere welcome, 
winning for himself " golden opinions from all sorts of people. '^ 
James Lynch Fitz-Stephen was extremely popular; and as a mark 
of the esteem of his fellow-citizens he had been elected, during his 
absence. Mayor of the town — an office which carried wdth it great 
responsibilities, especially at a time when the chief magistrate, 
having command of the soldiery, possessed not alone the judicial 
but the executive power of local government. In the very first 
month of his office, a young man, accused before him of a barbarous 
murder, was found guilty, and was, despite of many entreaties, 
executed ; for the Mayor had resolved that in his year of office no 
murderer should escape with impunity. So deeply was his stern 
vengeance dreaded, that crime ceased for a while to be committed, 


and life and property were secure in the town of Galway. His 
hospitalities were on a scale of magnificence, " and he dined so 
worshipfully that all men wondered." Meanwhile the Spaniard 
despatched a letter by the captain of a vessel which was then about 
to sail to Cadiz; descriptive of his happy sojourn in Galway. Now 
there was at that time a family of the Tribes, in whose house 
Spanish was spoken with great purity, especially by one whose easy 
and elegant manners showed that she had been accustomed to 
move in the upper ranks of society. Walter Lynch, son of the 
Mayor, fascinated by her charms, had hoped that at no distant date 
he could make her his own ; his love is said to have been returned ; 
nevertheless he beheld with dismay the pleasure young Gomez 
took in her society. She delighted in the language of Spain, and 
she was wont to converse with the stranger in words which the 
jealousy and ignorance of Walter Lynch attributed to love. It was 
late on an autumnal evening when Walter was returning to his 
home, that he saw the Spaniard coming forth from the house of the 
young lady. Lynch rushed upon his supposed rival, who, seeing 
that he was attacked, fled towards the quay, where his pursuer came 
up to him, stabbed him to the heart, and flung him bleeding into 
the sea. On the following day the lifeless body was cast on the 
ocean shore, and the truth was then revealed that he had been 
foully murdered. Who can tell the feelings of the Mayor when the 
dreadful intelligence was conveyed to him that the only child of his 
foreign friend was a corpse, murdered, and within his jurisdiction? 
Meanwhile horror-stricken at what he had done, the murderer con- 
fessed the deed. His unhappy father issued a warrant for his 
arrest, and he was flung into prison. The judge who had so lately 
condemned another was now called on in equal justice to condemn 
his own son ! He did condemn him, and refused to entertain any 
application for mercy. 

Early on the morning of the day on which the young man was 
to die, the father descended into his dungeon, holding a lamp, and 
accompanied by a priest (from whom the account was received), and 
locking the gate, kept fast the keys in his hand. His son drew 
near, and asked if he had anything to hope. The father, weeping, 
answered, "No, my son ! your life is forfeited to the laws, and at 
sunrise you must die. I have prayed for your prosperity, but that 



is at an end — with this world you have done for ever. Were any 
other but your wretched father your judge, I might have dropped a 
tear over my child's misfortune, and solicited for his life, even 
though stained with murder ; but you must die — these are the last 
drops which must quench the sparks of nature ; and, if you dare 
hope, implore that Heaven may not shut the gates of mercy on the 
destroyer of his fellow- creature. I am now come to join with this 
good man in petitioning God to give you such composure as will 
enable you to meet your punishment with becoming resignation." 
The priest then administered the last sacraments ; the young man 
joined fervently in prayer^ and sighed heavily from time to time, 
but spoke of life and its ties no more. At daybreak the father 
motioned to an attendant to remove the fetters ; they ascended a 
flight of steps, and passed on to gain the street which led to the 
usual place of execution. But prodigious crowds had gathered 
there, loud in cries for mercy, and in threats of vengeance if mercy 
were not accorded. It was impossible to proceed. The judge 
stood alone, as he represented the majesty of the law. The very 
soldiery were not to be depended on. Even the executioner re- 
fused to perform his work. The hearts of men were stirred within 
them, for it was the lips of the father that had spoken the words of 
doom ! And so, within the threshold of the house, he stood with 
his son alone ! And he took him up a winding-stair that led to an 
arched window, which looked out upon the street and upon the 
crowds below. The rope, which was about the young man's neck, 
he fastened to an iron bar projecting from the wall. " And now, 
my son/' said he, " you have little time to live. Let the care of 
your soul employ these few moments. Take the last embrace of 
your unhappy father!" He embraced him, and launched him into 
eternity ! 

The house in which this tragedy took place still stood within the 
memory of living men in Lombard Street, which is even yet known 
by the name of " The Dead Man's Lane." Close by the window 
a monument was fixed in the wall — a mural slab of black marble, 
on which are sculptured a skull and crossbones, with the legend, 
*'Eemember Deathe — Vanitie of Vanities and all is but 
Yanitie." a few years ago this house was removed to allow the 
widening of the street, but the slab, placed in a wall immediately 


to the rear, still commemorates tlie deed. Opinions may be divided 
as to the act of the father, but few will question the integrity of 
the judge. It is but seldom that duty demands, or nature permits, 
so fearful a sacrifice. But whenever nature does thus yield to 
duty, history loves to commemorate, and poetry to celebrate, the 
deed. So has it been with Abraham, and Jephthe, and the elder 
Brutus ; so with the father of Iphigenia ; so is it with James 
Lynch Fitz-Stephen — his name still lives on in the traditions of a 
justice-loving people ! 

The re-introduction of English law into the Province of Con- 
naught is due to Henry YIII., who took upon himself the title of 
King of Ireland. He suppressed the monasteries wherever his 
power extended, and their properties he usually granted to the great 
lords of the country. The chief of these in Galway was Ulick 
Burke Mac William Eighter, whom, in 1543, he created Earl of 
Clanricarde. The Koyal reformer did not long survive these acts 
of spoliation ; but his son, Edward VI., was also intent on 
establishing the English laws within the Province. He therefore 
commissioned his Chancellor of Ireland, Sir Thomas Cusack, to 
make a tour in the western countries, and report his observations 
when made. That report, which afterwards appeared in the shape 
of "a boke directed to the Duke of Northumberland " in 1552, 
is replete with information on the state of the Province of 
Connaught in the reign of Edward VI. Of the country 
between Thomond and Galway, the Chancellor writes that " it 
was governed by Mac William, Earl of Clanricarde, that there 
was only two ploughs at work there until lately, and now that 
there are forty ploughs, that ploughing increaseth daily, thanks 
be to God, and the people be now so quiet that they leave their 
ploughs, irons, and cattle in the fields without fear of stealing, and 
experience showeth that there can be nothing so good to be used 
with such savage people as good order to be observed and kept 
amongst them, for execution of the law is more feared when it is 
done in order than any other punishment." He next speaks of 
Mayo. Mac William Burke, ancestor of the Viscount Mayo, " is 
next to the Earl of Clanricarde in supporting the King's Majesty 
in every place in Connaught." He then suggests that a Presidency 
Court — a suggestion afterwards carried out by Queen Elizabeth — be 



established in Connaiiglit ; " and if a president, and also a captain, 
with a competent number of men continuing at Athenry, be estab- 
lished, these two will be able to rule all Connaught, which is a fifth 
part of Ireland/' 

Queen Mary, following so far in the footsteps of her father and 
brother, warmly espoused the idea of establishing, on a firm basis, 
English laws in Irish districts. She had already erected the great 
central countries of Leinster into the King's County and Queen's 
County; she had increased the pay of the judges, and had resolved 
on introducing the Circuits within " the wild territories." Accord- 
ingly, on the 18th of April, 1556, the following instructions were 
given by her to the Lord Deputy, the Earl of Sussex : — " The 
Deputy is to have regard to the execution of justice, and that the 
laws already made, and those at the next Parliament to be made, 
be executed, the lack whereof has caused many complaints and 
many mischiefs, besides the loss of our possessions, regalities, 
rights, duties, and obeisance there. And forasmuch as, for lack of 
ministration of justice there, malefactors of late years have more 
and more increased, while the fees of the ministers of the law have 
doubled for the purpose of enabling them to ride abroad into the 
wild countries, to minister justice." Her Majesty pressed on the 
Lord Deputy the "necessity of sending out Circuiting Judges, with 
commissions of Oyer and Terminer. We will, therefore, that our 
said Deputy and Council shall most diligently give order that there 
be addressed to some of our judges, barons, learned counsel, and 
other discreet and wise men, commissions of Oyer and Terminer, 
the riding charges of the commissioners to be borne by the countries 
where they sit to administer justice." ^ 

Queen Elizabeth, adopting in this respect the policy of her 
sister Queen Mary, on the 4th of July, a.d. 1562, wrote to the Earl 
of Sussex, recommending him to take steps for the establishment 
of a provincial court for the Province of Connaught, as well as for 
Ulster and Munster. " We wish that three places of councils, and 
councillors for the same, be devised and established for the remote 
parts ; for example, one at xithlone, for Connaught ; one at Limerick, 
for Munster ; and one at Armagh, or Newry, for Ulster ; for the 
establishing whereof we think for the present that it should be meet 

» Carew MSS., 253-4. 


to ordain, that at every of the places there should be a president, 
with a justice and certain councillors with him ; and for honour and 
authority, to join also with them in commission, the Earls, Bishops, 
and the principal nobility of that part of the realm ; and the same 
president, justice, and council, to keep ordinary sessions at certain 
convenient and limited times and places, wherein the controversies 
of the countries might be heard and determined, according to order 
of common law, or in form of chancery, according to equity, and to 
use therein, at the beginning, such lenity, discretion, and order, 
that the people may find comfort, and taste of the fruits of peace 
and good order, and afterwards to induce them to live and be 
answerable to the common laws, as other of the five English shires 

In reply to this royal missive, the Earl replied, that he had 
travelled as Lord Lieutenant, or Deputy, to Queen Mary, for 
several years, and that it was his conviction that there should be 
three provincial courts established ; that Clare should not be within 
the jurisdiction of the presidents of either Munster or Connaught, but 
that the Earl of Thomond, Chief of Clare, should be as a person 
lying between both presidencies, and should be a member of both 
councils, ready to assist either, as occasion might require. 

The Earl next suggests that the Brehons, in Lish cases, should 
practise at the Bar, and that they have their fees allowed to them. 

A.D. 1569. — The suggestion as to the formation of the Presi- 
dency Court of Connaught, though delayed for seven years, owing 
to the troubled state of the country, was at length adopted. 
Athlone was selected as the fittest place for the President (who 
was also Governor of Connaught) to reside in, and Sir Edward 
Fitton was appointed first Lord President, Raafe Rookely Chief 
Justice, Eobert Dillon Second Justice, and John Crofton Clerk 
of the Council. The following is from the Patent Rolls ^ : — 
*' Clause in the Queen's letter, directing Raafe Rookely to have 
one month's entertainment, to commence from his arrival in Ire- 
land, and allowance for his residence, to practise at the law." Then 
follows the concordatum of the Lord Deputy and Council, stating 
" that the Queen had sent over Sir Edward Fitton, as Lord 
President of the Province of Connaught, and Raafe Rookely to be 

» Carew MSS., 329. « Morrin's Patent Rolls for 1569, p. 633. 



Chief Justice of the said Province, and containing instructions to 
the Lord Deputy to select a suitable man of the countrj^ learned in 
the laws, and with a knowledge of the Irish tongue, to act as 
assistant to said Chief Justice, and a suitable person to be Clerk of 
the Council, to which offices they, the Deputy and Council, had 
appointed Eobert Dillon to be assistant, or second Justice, and John 
Crofton Clerk of the Council and of the Province. 

The better, therefore, to enforce the orders of this high court, 
it was resolved that the Province should be divided into several 
counties or shires, and that each county should be provided with a 
sheriff or officer of the shire. This division (which had been 
arranged in the time of the government of the Earl of Sussex, 
which terminated in 1564) was now carried into effect by his 
successor, the Lord Deputy, Sir Richard Sidney. In addition to 
the sittings of the court at Athlone, sessions were also held in the 
several counties by the Judges of the provincial court, and not 
unfrequently a member of the superior courts in Dublin was ap- 
pointed to discharge this office. The duties of the Lord President 
were rather of a military than of a judicial nature. 

The rigour of Sir Edward Fitton's rule goaded the people into 
resistance; even the old and hitherto faithful friend of the English 
rule, the Earl of Thomond, was forced to resist his authority. Fitton 
appointed a court to meet in the year 1570, for South Connaught, 
in the Franciscan Abbey of Ennis, but the Earl refused to attend, 
and the President was obliged to fly, committing himself to the 
safe-keeping of the Sheriff of Thomond, w^ho conducted him with 
all speed to Galway. 

Two years subsequently (March, a.d. 1572), he held a court in 
Galwa}^ for his entire jurisdiction from Sligo to Limerick. He 
caused the Earl of Clanricarde to be arrested and brought a prisoner 
to Dublin, when he committed him to the charge of the Lord 
Deputy, while he returned himself to Athlone. But the Earl had 
now full opportunity of laying before the Deputy the harshness of 
the President, who was soon after in consequence removed from 
office ; and so odious had he made the name of President, that Sir 
Nicholas Malby, on being appointed to succeed him in the year 
1576, was invested instead with the title of ^' Colonel of Connaught." 
Clare was then detached from his jurisdiction, and was unite4 to 


Munster. Malby spent but little time in his own province, for his 
military genius was such that the Government were compelled 
to call on him to aid the President of Munster in crushing the 
revolt in that province of the Earl of Desmond. To his court in 
Athlone were given the services of an eminent lawyer, Thomas 
Dillon, who was appointed Chief Justice of the Province of 
Connaught, vice Eookely, resigned. This gentleman, ancestor 
of Lord Clonbrock, purchased a large estate and settled at 
Clonbrock, in the County of Galway. In 1579 Clare was 
again united to Connaught. After a series of dismal campaigns, 
in which glory was not to be won, Malby returned to Athlone, 
where he died, having filled the office of President for eight 

Queen Elizabeth now suggested that the uncertain taxes paid 
by the landlords of Connaught should be compounded for a certain 
fixed tax ; and with this view she addressed her Royal Letters to 
the Lord Deputy, Sir John Perrott ; and she, at the same time 
desired that a Connaught Circuit for the Judges should be formed ; 
that the Assizes for the County of Sligo should be held in the town 
of Shgo; that Roscommon should be the Assizes town for the 
County of Roscommon, Burrishoole for the County of Mayo, and 
Ballinasloe for the County of Galway ; but she made no suggestion 
as to either Leitrim or Clare. Accordingly (a.d. 1584), Sir Richard 
Bingham, ancestor of the Earl of Lucan, having been appointed 
President of the Presidency Court, and Governor of the Province, 
immediately applied himself to carry out the Queen^s instructions 
as to the composition of Connaught. For this purpose he held a 
Sessions Court in the County of Mayo, when it was agreed 
that indentures should be executed between Her Majesty of 
the one part, and each of the Lords and Chieftains of the 
Province of the other, whereby such Lords and Chieftains agreed 
to pay thenceforward a regular composition tax of ten shillings 
on every quarter of land of about 120 acres, in lieu of the 
former irregular assessments ; while the Crown granted them their 
estates in fee simple, to descend according to the English law of 
descent. This deed has ever since been known as "The Com- 
position of Connaught." This grant of the fee, which gave the 
landlords, as it was then supposed, an indefeasible title, was 



afterwards, in the reign of James I., questioned, on the ground that 
the Lord Deputy had not been empowered by the Queen's Letter 
to grant any estate whatever, but that the arrangement was merely 
intended to be a composition of taxes. Bingham held, in January of 
this year, a Sessions Court in Galway, at which Gerald Comerford, 
the Attorney-General for the Province, prosecuted, and by sentence 
of which seventy persons, men and women, were executed. Sessions 
were again held in the following December, and a large number 
were again handed over to the executioner ; amongst whom were 
the Mac Shehys of Munster, who had fought in the Geraldine wars. 
But this was cruelty, not justice. Kepeated complaints were 
accordingly made to the Queen by the Lord Deputy, of the 
intolerable oppression of Sir Eichard Bingham ; and at length these 
accusations (1596) became so frequent, that he left Athlone without 
permission, to answer the charges preferred against him, and, on 
presenting himself at Court, was committed to prison, and dismissed 
from office. ^| 

Sir Conj^ers Clifford, a just and humane man, succeeded him in 
1597. Immediately on his appointment, he was called into the 
field, and appointed his kinsman, James Darcy (ancestor of the 
Darcys of New Forrest, in the County Galway) his deputy at 
Athlone. The Earl of Essex was then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 
and under his sway the English were suffering disastrous defeats 
from the Irish, who detested the English Church and rule from 
north to south in the country. Marshal Bagnal, the most illustrious 
of the generals of Queen Elizabeth, had fallen at the battle of the 
Yellow Ford, on the 14th of August, 1598 ; and on the 15th of 
August, 1599, Sir Conyers Clifford, advancing at the head of a 
well-appointed army, through the Curlew Mountains, had reached 
the famous pass of Ballaghboy, when he was attacked by Brian Oge 
O'Rorke, Prince of Breffney, with such impetuosity that the English 
troops gave way and fled. Clifford refused to join the flying throng, 
and breaking from those who would have forced him from the field, 
was killed, according to the Four Masters, by a musket ball ; but 
others say that he was pierced through the body with a spear. 
When the battle was over, his corpse was recognised by O'Rorke, 
who had him honourably interred in the Monastery of Lough 
Key. His death excited a feeling of deep regret amongst the Irish, 


who esteemed him for his exalted principles of honour and 

A.D. 1601. — Walter Surlock was .appointed Attorney- General 
of the Province of Connaught. 

A.D. 1602.— On the petition of the Earl of Thomond, the 
County of Clare was detached from the jurisdiction of the Presi- 
dency Court of Connaught, and was united to Munster. 




A.D. 1604. 

F the remote antiquity of Circuiting Courts, of Circuiting 
Judges, and of Circuiting Towns, there can be no 
manner of doubt, for it is written that, eleven hundred 
years before Christ, " Samuel judged in Israel all 
the days of his life. And he went from year to year 
on circuit to the towns of Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, 
judging Israel in all those places." ^ In the Roman 
Empire, the circuits were regularly travelled by the judges. In 
France and in England they became, as it were, institutions of the 
country ; but it was not until James I. ascended the throne that 
the circuits became and were universally established in Ireland. 
In the following year his Majesty appointed Sir Arthur Chichester 
his Lord Deputy in Ireland, and he established new circuits, 
sending the first Justices of Assize into Connaught. Sir Arthur 
was aided in his course of procedure by an able and astute minister, 
Sir John Davis, who had, on the 25th of September, 1603, arrived 
in Dublin, as Solicitor- General for Ireland. His career had been 
a chequered one. From the Middle Temple he had been called to 
the English Bar, and from that Bar had been disbarred in the year 
1598, for conduct so outrageous that nothing else remained for the 
Benchers in the matter to do. It appears that on the evening of 
the 9th of February, 1597, he came into the dining-hall with his 
hat on his head, and attended with two attendants, armed with 
swords ; and going up to the barristers' table, where a lawyer 
named Richard Martin was sitting, " pulled from under his gown a 
cudgel, quern vulgariter vacant ' a bastinado,' and struck him upon 

1 1 Sam vii. 15, 16. 



the head repeatedly, and with so much violence that the bastinado 
was shivered into divers pieces. Then retiring to the bottom of 
the hall, he drew one of his attendants' swords, and flourished it 
over his head, turning his face towards Martin ; and then turning 
away adown the water-steps of the Temple, threw himself into a 
boat.'^ ^ For this outrageous act he was disbarred, expelled the house, 
and deprived of his authority ever to speak or consult in law. 
After four years' retirement he petitioned the Benchers for his 
restoration, which they accorded on the 30th October, 1601, upon 
his making a public submission in the Hall, and asking pardon of 
Martin, who at once generously forgave him. Both the prin- 
cipals in this outbreak and reconciliation became honourably known 
in the profession — Martin rising to be Kecorder of London, and 
Davis Attorney-General and Speaker in the House of Commons in 
Ireland, and achieving such a status in politics and law, that he 
was appointed to the Chief Justiceship of England, an office which 
sudden death prevented him from filling.^ 

The towns chosen for holding the assizes in the Connaught 
Circuit were Galway and Loughrea, alternately, for the County of 
Galway; Koscommon, for the County of Roscommon; Sligo, for 
the County of Sligo ; Leitrim, for the County Leitrim ; '' whilst 
for the County of Mayo, although the jail was at Cong, and though 
the assizes were to be held twice a-year there, there were no certain 
towns fixed upon for holding therein the same.^* Had the circuit 
thus happily inaugurated been permitted smoothly to work on, 
unstained by religious prejudices, there can be no manner of doubt 
that law and order would have found from the beginning there a 
sure haven ; but it was the policy of England at that time to 
poison justice at its fountain, and prevent Catholic lawyers from 
pleading in courts of justice for a Catholic people. James I. 
required by proclamation all Catholic barristers to take the oath of 
supremacy, and many ceased in consequence to practise at the bar. 

Richard, Earl of Clanricarde, was appointed, in this year (1604), 
President of the Presidency Court of Connaught. Previous to this 
time, none of the titled aristocracy had been raised to that 

^ Fosse's Judges of England. 

^ Jeaflfreson's Book about Lawyers, Vol. ii. , p. 111. 



important post. " We think," writes James I. to the Lord Deputy, 
'* that it would be more for our service that the Province of 
Connaught have a Governor with a title, as our Province of Munster 
hath." 1 

A.D. 1606. — Thomas Dillon, Chief Justice of Connaught, died, 
and was succeeded in that office by Henry Dillon, Attorney- General 
for the Province of Ulster.^ 

A.D. 1607. — In this year Henry Dillon resigned, and was 
succeeded by Geoifry Osbaldistone, a Bencher of Gray's Inn, and 
Justice of the Irish Court of King's Bench. The office of Chief 
Justice of Connaught must then have been held in high estimation, 
since we find this gentleman exchanging for it his seat in the 
superior Courts of Common Law. 

A.D. 1610. — The town of Galway, with the exception of St. 
Francis's Abbey, where the County Court-House now stands, was 
erected into a separate county, known as the County of the Town of 

A.D. 1616. — The Earl of Clanricarde caused Sir Oliver St. 
John and Sir Thomas Rotheram to be appointed Commissioners 
for hearing causes in his court at Athlone. 

A.D. 1616. — The duties of Governor of the entire province were 
too much for the Earl, and " he accordingly did endeavour to 
perswade the King to take the County of Galway, and the County 
of the town of Galway, out of y® jurisdiction of the Provincial 
Court of Connaught, and to have himself appointed President 
thereto. With this design did he present a petition to the Crown, 
that the County of Galway might be erected into a separate 
jurisdiction, quite independent of y® rest of y® province." ^ He was 
accordingly appointed Governor of the County, and County of the 
town of Galway by privy seal, during pleasure; "he to be principal 
in the Commissions of Oyer and Terminer, with the Justices of 
Assize in their circuits, with a power to appoint a Deputy, 
pursuant to said privy seal. An annuity, pension, stipend, or 
fee of ten shillings a day for life out of the revenues of the said 
county and town,'^ was granted to his lordship by "patent, dated 
29th June, 1616, with remainder to his son and heir, Ulick Burke, 

Patent Rolls. 


Baron of Dunkellin, for life, after his father's death." ^ The 
Earl then resigned the presidency of the Province, which was con- 
ferred on Viscount Wilmot. 

A.D. 1632. — Even yet the assizes for the County of Mayo had 
not been held at any fixed place, although the county jail was at 
Cong ; and the greatest inconvenience was consequently felt, as it 
became necessary to convey the prisoners long distances from 
the court to the prison. Lord Mayo brought this matter under the 
notice of the Crown immediately on his taking his seat in the 
House of Lords. His lordship in his petition stated, " that there 
was no certain place within the County of Mayo for the holding of 
the assizes, sessions, and other public meetings of the ministers of 
justice about the affairs of that county, and that the jail being kept 
in Cong, in the most remote part of the county, the inhabitants 
did not only suffer in their estates by the journeying of disorderly 
prisoners with their guards throughout the country to the place 
where the judges met, but justice was also many times prevented 
by the ordinary escape of notorious malefactors." * He then 
suggested ''that the town of Bellcarra, now a village, near his 
residence of Castle Bourke, and on the road from Castlebar to 
Ballinrobe, was the fittest and most central place for holding the 
assizes. The King, on the 10th of July, 1632, caused the affair 
to be submitted to the Lord Deputy, directing him at the same 
time to consult the judges concerning the subject-matter of his 
lordship's petition ; and they having made a favourable report, his 
Majesty was pleased to cause letters patent to issue authorizing the 
holding of the assizes at Bellcarra for the next thirty-one years. 
After the expiration of this period, they were for half a century 
held at Ballinrobe and Bellcarra alternately. Criminals condemned 
to death in the latter place were executed from a tree on the lands 
of the neighbouring Abbey of Ballintober, and hence a verse well 
known in Mayo — 

*' Shake hands, brother — you're a rogue, and I'm another ; 
You'll be hanged at Ballinrobe, and I'll be hanged at Ballintober." 

J Pat. Rol., 14 Jac. I. 2 p. d. n. 8-9. 
2 Lodge's Peerage, Vol. ii., p. 330~n. 


A.D. 1634. — Geoffry Osbaldistone, having filled the office of 
Chief Justice of Connaught for twenty-seven years, resigned in this 
year, and was succeeded by Sir James Donelan, Fellow of Trinity 
College, and M.P. for the University of Dublin. The appointment 
of Sir James gave much satisfaction to the Irish party, as he was 
descended on his father's side from one of the oldest of the Irish 
families, whilst his mother was daughter of O'Donel, the exiled 
Earl of Tyrconnell. 

The Strafford Inquisitions. 

A time was now at hand (a.d. 1635) when the policy of confisca- 
tion and plantation, adopted by James I. in Ulster, after the flight 
of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, was to be enforced in Con- 
naught. To get rid of the old proprietors and deprive them of 
their estates, and to plant adventurers from England and Scotland 
in their stead, such was the design of the arbitrary minister Went- 
worth, and of his master, Charles I. ; but it was a work of some 
magnitude to eject those who held their lands on the most solemn 
compact that could be entered into between the State and the sub- 
ject. Sir Thomas Lord Wentworth, afterwards Earl of Strafford, 
was then Lord Deputy. This nobleman was eldest son of Sir 
William Wentworth, of Wentworth Woodhouse, in the County of 
York. He was one of the ablest, as he was one of the most un- 
scrupulous, men of his time. Ambition was his besetting sin. 
Ambition led him, at the first, to make overtures to the Court, and 
when those overtures were fruitless, to join the popular party. 
Ambition detached him subsequently from that party, and gave him 
place in the councils of the King. Every student of English his- 
tory knows the means devised by him for rendering the King inde- 
pendent of his Parliament. A halo rests, notwithstanding, around 
the memory of this great bad man. The hatred of his enemies, 
his trial before the peers, the eloquence of his defence, the King's 
desertion of him, his tragic end, his courage at the last, all contri- 
bute to make men forget those crimes, for some at least of which 
he deserved to die. But amongst those crimes stands prominently 
forward that crime with which we have to do — the attempt to con- 



fiscate the territories of the western Chieftains, and confer them 
on Scotch and English adventurers. And this was to be done by 
injustice under the guise of justice — robbery under the sacred forms 
of law ! By his advice, then, special commissions were directed to 
the following Commissioners of Plantation : to Yiscount Eanelagh, 
President of the Connaught Presidency Court ; Robert Dillon, a 
lawyer of great eminence ; Christopher Wandesforde, Master of 
the Rolls ; Gerald Lowther, Chief Justice of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas ; Ph. Mainwaring, of the family of Over-Peover, in 
Cheshire ; Adam Loftus, son of Lord Ely ; and Sir George Rad- 
cliffe ; under which they were empowered to empannel juries to 
inquire into the titles under which the w^hole territory of Con- 
naught, consisting of Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo, Mayo, the County 
of Galway, and the County of the town of Galway, were held. The 
County of Leitrim having surrendered without a trial, the first in- 
quiry was held at Boyle, in the County of Roscommon. A jury 
was sworn to try " what estate, right, or title the King, or any of 
his progenitors, had, or of right ought to have had, to the whole 
territory of Roscommon." 

The Attorney- General for Ireland (Sir William Ryves), with 
whom were William Hilton, Attorney- General for the Province of 
Connaught, and a number of other lawyers, appeared for the Crown ; 
whilst Patrick D'Arcy, and his nephew Geoffry Browne,^ both 
Catholics, appeared for the Roscommon proprietors. The case for 
the Crown was, that Henry II. on his invasion of Ireland became 
entitled to the whole Province of Connaught, by the right of con- 
quest, and by the several other titles set forth in the Act for the 
attainder of O'Neil (11th Eliz., Sess. 3, ch. 1); that being so entitled, 
he by grant, made in the year 1179, granted the same to his relative, 
William Fitz-Adlem^ De Burgh, whom he constituted Lord of 
Connaught, who thereupon, the grant being also made to his 
heirs, became entitled to the fee in the entire province, and 
that Charles I., descended from him, was his direct heir, and as 

1 II. Lodge's Peerage, tit. Viscount Mayo, p. 323. — Ed. 1754. 

* William Fitz-Adlem was the son of Adlem De Burgh, who was married 
to Agnes, daughter of Louis VII., King of France, which Adlem was son of 
William, Earl of Cornwall, who was son of Robert, Earl of Cornwall, brother 
of William the Conqueror. 



8uch was entitled to the fee of the entire province in as full and 
large a manner as his ancestor, the said William Fitz-Adlem^, had 

* The following chart -will explain at a glance the descent of Charles 
from William Fitz-Adlem De Burgh : — 

William FitzAdlem De Burgh (1), Lord of Connaught= Isabella, widow of 

Llewellen, Prince 
of Wales. 

Richard De Burgh (2) Lord of Connaught. 

Walter De Burgh (3) and 1st Earl of Ulster. William De Burgh. 

Richard, Red Earl of Ulster, (4) Lord of Connaught Sir William The Grey. 

John De Burgh, d. in his father's lifetime. The Clanricardes. 

William De Burgh, Earl of Ulster (5), d. 1333. Edward III., King of England. 

Elizabeth De Burgh = Lionel, Duke of Clarence, (6) Lord of Connaught (^jure 1| 
I uxoris.] 

Philippa= Mortimer, Earl of March (7) {Jure uxoris). 

Roger, Earl of March, (8) Lord of Connaught. 
Anne=Duke of Cambridge (9) (jure uxoris), 

Richard, Duke of York, (10) Lord of Connaught. 

Edward IV., King of England (Lordship merges in the Crown). 

Edward V. Elizabeth= Henry VII. 

Henry VIII. 

Margaret = James IV., King of Scotland. 

i III 

Edward VI. Mart. Elizabeth. James V. 

James VI. & I. of England. 

Charles I. Elizabeth ^ Frederick, King of Bohemia. 

Princess Sophia = Elector of Hanover. 

Queen Victoria. 


been ; that William Fitz- Adlem had one son and heir, Kichard De 
Burgh, second Lord of Connaught, to whom Henry III., on the 
21st of December, 1226, confirmed the grant of Henry II. ; that 
Richard was succeeded at his death in 1243 by his eldest son and 
heir, Walter De Burgh, who was also first Earl of Ulster, and 
third Lord of Connaught. His son Richard, sirnamed the Red 
Earl, had a son John, who died in his father's lifetime, leaving 
a son William, who succeeded his grandfather as third Earl of 
Ulster and fifth Lord of Connaught. He was murdered on Easter 
Sunday, 1333, and left at his death an only daughter and heiress, 
Elizabeth, who married Lionel, Duke of Clarence (third son of 
Edward III., King of England), who thus became, in right of his 
wife, sixth Lord of Connaught. Lionel left an only daughter and 
heiress, Philippa, wife of Mortimer, Earl of March, who, in right 
of his wife, became seventh Lord of Connaught, and was succeeded 
by his son and heir, Roger, Earl of March, eighth Lord of 
Connaught, whose daughter and heiress, Anne, was wife of the 
Duke of Cambridge, who in her right became ninth Lord of 
Connaught, and was succeeded by his son and heir, Richard 
Plantagenet, Duke of York, tenth Lord of Connaught, whose son 
and heir, Edward IV., King of England, was eleventh Lord of 
Connaught ; that from Edward IV. the lordship of Connaught 
descended with the Crown through the various sovereigns of 
England to Charles I., the king who then reigned; and the 
Attorney-General therefore asked the jury to find that the Crown 
was entitled to the possession of the Province of Connaught 
in as ample a manner as his ancestor William Fitz-Adlem had 

Counsel for the Roscommon proprietors submitted that the 
title to the county was not in the Crown ; that the Lords of 
Connaught had not enjoyed the possession of the province since 
1333, to the present time (1635), a space of more than 300 years, 
and that length of time therefore barred their claim. But even 
assuming, though not admitting, that the title had descended from 
Edward IV. to Queen Elizabeth, yet that she by her royal letters 
authorized the making of a deed (bipartite), which was executed 
between her Deputy, Sir John Perrott, and the Connaught pro- 
prietors in 1584; by which it was provided that their estates 



should descend according to the English law of descent, upon 
paying a certain annual composition of ten shillings for every 
quarter of land (about 120 acres), and that if there were nothing 
else, they had thus acquired a valid title to their estates. That the 
Crown lawyers in the last reign, notwithstanding, having thrown 
doubts on the validity of these titles, suggested that all the 
Connaught proprietors should surrender their estates to the Crown, 
and obtain new patents and indefeasible titles ; that in 1617, 
inquisitions were, under the royal letters of James I., taken of all 
the estates in the province ; and that in 1619 patents were made 
to the great lords of the country, who, to save the expense of 
innumerable patents, had, under deeds of trust,^ become trustees 
for the smaller proprietors, to whom they re-granted, by deed, what 
had been patented to them in great part in trust by the Crown ; 
that the fees of enrolling these patents amounted to ^3,000 ; that 
that sum had actually been paid for their enrolment by the pro- 
prietors to the officers of the Court of Chancery, and that if those 
officers either negligently or wilfully had omitted to enrol them, 
the proprietors were not the parties to suffer ; that the present king 
had been paid a portion of a subsidy of i6 120, 000 by the Irish 
Catholics for the purpose, amongst others, of limiting the title of 
the Crown to lands at sixty years ; and that the inhabitants of 
Connaught should be permitted to make new enrolments of their 
estates, in order to strengthen their titles ; for it was admitted that 
the patents of James I. were not enrolled in Chancery within the 
proper time.^ 

To these arguments the Crown replied, — that Queen Elizabeth* 
had not parted with whatever right to the lordship she was entitled 
to j that by her royal letters Sir John Perrott was authorized to 
enter into a tripartite and not a bipartite deed ; that the deed of 
composition was only bipartite between the Deputy and the Con- 
naught proprietors, whereas her Majesty should have been a third 
party ; that Sir John Perrott had exceeded his powers by granting 

^ Copies of these deeds and patents in English are published in the Patent 
Rolls of James I. 

^ Howard's Revenue Exchequer, p. 42. 

^ Strafford's Letters. 


or pretending to grant to them the fee of their estates, whereas he 
was only empowered to make a composition of uncertain for certain 
taxes ; and further, that one of the stipulations of that deed, such 
as it was, was that the estates should descend according to the 
English law of inheritance, whereas the descent ever since followed 
was that of the tanistry or Brehon law ; that Queen Elizaheth died 
seised of the lordship, and that the late King James I. had not, 
for anything that appeared on the Rolls of the Court of Chancery, 
been stripped of that right, and that a patent is of no force previous 
to its enrolment. These several points were decided by the Court 
in favour of the Crown. Mr. Hilton, Attorney- General for the 
Province of Connaught, then addressed the jury. He told them 
that, in taking up the fee of the county, it was his Majesty's intention 
to make them a rich and a civil people, and participators in the 
glorious work of reformation which he had undertaken. Promises 
were not omitted that the jury would be remembered in the dis- 
tribution of the lands ; and they, swayed by these promises, and 
under threats which could not be misunderstood, found for the 
king. Thereupon the Lord Deputy, who had occupied a place on 
the bench during the trial, recommended the foreman. Sir Lucas 
Dillon, to his Majesty, " that he might be remembered upon the 
dividing of the lands." Never has justice been more disgraced ; 
and we are told by Strafford (Letters, II., p. 241) that Sir Gerard 
Lowther, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, got four shillings in 
the pound of the first year's rent^ raised under the Commissioners 
of '' Defective Titles." 

The servile example set in Roscommon was followed in Sligo, 
where the trial was held, on the 20th of the same month (July), 
and in Ballinrobe, where it took place for the county of Mayo on 
the 31st ; but when it came to the turn of the County of Gal way, 
the jury of that noble and aristocratic county, refusing to sanction 
such robbery by their verdict, to their immortal honour, found 
against the Crow^n. The trial came on at Portumna Castle, on the 
14th August, where, notwithstanding the presence of the Lord 
Deputy himself, who sat on the bench, and the arguments of 
counsel, they unanimously found against it. Transported with rage, 
the Lord Deputy had the jurors instantly arrested and brought 
prisoners to Dublin. The old criminal law was ransacked, and it 



was found, as the law then stood, that if a verdict of a jury be 
notoriously wrong, the jury may be punished.^ They were 
accordingly put upon their trial before Sir Gerard Lowther, and 
each juror was fined in a sum of £4,000. Their estates were 
seized, and they themselves were sentenced to be imprisoned until 
those fines were paid. They petitioned to be discharged, but were 
refused, except on condition of their making a public acknowledg- 
ment that they committed not only an error of judgment, but even 
actual perjury, in their verdict — terms which they disdainfully 
rejected. The High Sheriff, Mr. Martin Darcy, of the Kiltolla 
family, was also thrown into prison, and died there, owing to the 
cruel treatment he had received. The Lord Deputy then applied 
that the counsel who argued the case should be silenced until they 
should have taken the oath of supremacy. Lord Wentworth's 
account of those proceedings, which is written from the very town 
in which he had suffered so ignominious a defeat, is as follows : 

" To Mr. Secretary Coke. 

" Portumna, 20th August, 1635. 

** I, the Lord Deputy, and others of the Commissioners trusted by his 
Majesty in his intended design for the plantation of Connaught, having 
taken our journey from Dublin for that service on the 30th day of June, hare 
with some labour and pains travailed therein. 

" We began at Roscommon, where we caused a jury to be empannelled 
of the principal gentlemen and inhabitants of said county, before whom his 
Majesty's evidence being fully laid open by his learned counsel, it was 
manifest and clear that, contrary to their own private interests, they found 
for his Majesty. His Majesty's title being there found, we departed to the 
County of Sligo, and so from thence to the County of Mayo, and in every of 
which counties his Majesty's title was found in like manner. Our work 
ended in these three counties, we came to the County of Galway, where we 
apprehended, from private intelligence, more difficulty than in the other 
counties. When we came hither, we omitted nothing that we conceived 
might conduce to the clearing and manifestation of his Majesty's title. Yet 
the jury, neither regarding what had been done in the other counties, or the 
example of their neighbours, whose estates were as deeply involved as theirs, 
most obstinately and perversely refused to find for his Majesty, though we 
endeavoured to satisfy them several ways beyond any we had taken in the 
other three counties. We then fined the sheriff a thousand pounds, and 
bound over the jury to appear at the Castle Chamber, where it is fit that 

1 2 Hales' Pleas of the Crown, p. 210. 


their pertinacious carriage be followed with all just severity." He next 
complains that "the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the County 
of Galway are papists, over whom the priests and Jesuits exert uncontrol- 
lable influence. The counsellors-at-law were over busy, even to faction, 
and it was by the perswasion of these counsellors that the jury were 
misguided. Lord Clanricarde, the governor of the said county, whose great 
estates, together with his far-spread kindred, and the great relation the 
priests and lawyers have to his lordship, and all this fortified with his 
Majesty's power in his lordship's hands as Governor of the County of Galway, 
in nature little less than a County Palatine, renders him a person so potent 
in this country, as that nothing can move in this county without him." *' To 
Lord Clanricarde, then, is to be traced the miscarriage of the proceedings, 
and Lord Clanmorris, his lordship's nephew, was heard to say, in a vaunting 
manner, before the jury gave in their verdict, that he would have given a 
great sum of money that the inquisitions commenced here, so that the other 
counties might have followed their example." 

To this communication Mr. Secretary Coke thus replied^ : — 

*' Right Honorable, 

" The letter of the 25th of August, subscribed by you, the Lord Deputy, 
and the rest of the Commissioners, was so full that it gave great satisfaction 
to his Majesty and all those that attended him in this business. 

" The three Counties of E-oscommon, Sligo, and Mayo, which so readily 
found his Majesty's just title, deserve his Majesty's favour, which you will 
signify, as occasion do require, for the encouragement of them and others. 

*'For Galway, for his packed jury, the sheriff well deserveth to pay the 
fine which you have laid upon him, and the jury are properly returned into 
the Castle Chamber as censurable in that Court. 

'* If the boasting words of the Viscount Clanmorris can be proved against 
him, it will be fit such men should know they are accountable for such 

''The scarcity of Protestants, and the plenty of priests and Jesuits, in 
Galway is very considerable, and which may be reformed ; and such coun- 
sellors-at-law as have so frowardly and maliciously opposed the King's title, 
are justly to be pressed, either to take the oath of supremacy, or to be sus- 
pended from their practice as not fit men to profess the law for others which 
themselves will not obey. 

" A greater proportion of the land should be taken from the pretended 
owners in the County of Galway than in the rest of the province." 

The Secretary then expresses his disapproval of Lord Strafford's 
endeavour to have Lord Clanricarde removed from the Presidency 
of the County of Galway. 

1 Strafford's Letters, Vol. i., p. 464. 



A.D. 1637. — Two years were permitted to elapse before the Lord 
Deputy again attempted to carry his point. He then caused two 
commissions to issue, addressed, with the exception of Lord Kane- 
lagh, to other Commissioners ; the one to find the King's title to 
the County, and the other to the County of the town of Galway. 
They met at St. Francises Abbey, in the town of Galway, when the 
county jury, terrified at the example made on the former occasion, 
were forced to find for the Crown, as did also the jury of the county 
of the town, the day after, in the Tholsel Hall. Upon the return 
of these findings, the Lord Deputy caused a survey and maps 
(known as Strafford's survey), not remarkable for accuracy, to be 
made of the entire province, which was planted with settlers from 
England and Scotland, and those who had been proprietors of the 
soil for many centuries were expelled. 

Nos patriae fines, et dulcia Unquimus arva ; 
Noa patriam fugimus. 

Strangers now swarmed over the face of the province. No 
place was secure from their intrusion. They had succeeded in 
obtaining one-half of the lands of the County of Galway, and 
one-fourth of the lands of the other counties of the province. 
There are historians who read history backwards, and commence 
the narration of the war of 1641 with the first effusion of blood in 
that ill-omened year. We say that it is the duty of the historian 
to search out the causes of things, and we say fearlessly that, when 
this is done, the origin of the war must be mainly traced to the 
policy of the Stuarts and of Lord Strafford. Men will not yield up 
their property without a struggle. Irishmen were called upon to 
yield up their property and their religion. Whatever might origi- 
nally have been the right of the Crown to the soil of Connaught, 
that right had lapsed after the long course of three hundred 
years. Three hundred years gave a title by limitation, or else 
there is no title by limitation in the nature of things. But as 
if to confirm that title by limitation, the proprietors could point, as 
we have already shown, to all the grants and re-grants in the reigns 
of Henry YIIL, Elizabeth, and James L, and yet they now saw 
wrested from them by the strong hand a large proportion of their 
properties, by virtue of a claim, questionable at the first — then 


surely obsolete. It is not in the nature of man to submit to such 
injustice ; and when the people of Ireland saw the English adven- 
turers over the country like the harpies of mythology, they flew 
to arms, and the rebellion of 1641, a war^^^o aris etfocis, began. 

All confidence in the courts of " Justice " was shaken — courts 
which were, indeed, mere mockeries of that sacred name, then so 
often taken in vain. Whilst, on the one hand, the jurors who had 
found on their oaths that Charles I. had no title to the lands of the 
County of Gal way were suffering imprisonment for that finding, 
the jurors of Mayo, Leitrim, Roscommon, and Sligo had been, on 
the other hand, amply rewarded ; and whilst the counsel against 
the Crown were persecuted, the counsel /or the Crown were petted, 
were bribed, were promoted. Hilton, Attorney- General for Con- 
naught, was raised to a seat on the bench in the Court of Exchequer ; 
and Sir Gerard Lowther, the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 
(for the purity of the ermine was not unsullied in the general cor- 
ruption), received an enormous sum of money. 

A.D. 1637. — In this year Sir James Donelan was appointed 
third Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Dublin, whilst he 
was still by patent allowed to continue Chief Justice of Connaught.^ 

• " Liber Munerum Hibernise," Vol. i., pp. 32-38. 




A.D. 1641. 

ALLED by the weight of two ecclesiastical establish- 
ments, the Catholic people now refused longer to pay- 
tithes to the Protestant clergy ; and at the spring and 
summer assizes of this year there were multitudes 
of cases between the tithe owners and tithe payers. 
Whilst the authority of the Protestant clergy was set at 
nought, that of the Catholic clergy was revered. This 
state of things is set forth in a " remonstrance of grievances in the 
Province of Tuam, presented to the Lord Deputy on the 12th of 
June, 1641/' ^ 

Passing from these to other subjects equally dismal, we find 
knots of Catholic barristers demanding self-government, and insist- 
ing on the repeal of Poyning's Law, which had been passed in the 
reign of Henry VII., and which enacted that no Irish statute 
could be passed without the consent of the Privy Council in Eng- 
land. We find, too, in both Houses of Parliament, a feeling of 
uneasiness and discontent, engendered by the superiority claimed 
by the English over the Irish Court of Appeal. A question was 
now raised as to the legality of appeals taken to the English House 
of Lords — a question which the deep troubles of the latter portion 
of this eventful year prevented from being brought to a conclusion 
— a question which, after the lapse of seventy-eight years, was 
decided in the well-known case of Sherlock v. Annesley/ in 1719, 
by the English against the Irish Parliament — a question which, 
after 141 years, was decided by the Irish and against the English 
Parliament in the better-known case of " The Independence of 

1 MSS., Record Office. 

2 " Lords' Journals," Vol. ii., p. 660. 

REBELLION OF 1641. 33 

Ireland, in 1782." The question was now raised for the first time 
by a parliament of half Catholics and half Protestants, and by a par- 
liament no longer that of the mere Pale. Patrick Darcy, a member 
of the House of Commons, and who then was, as he had been for 
years, the leader on the Connaught Circuit, was requested to argue 
the matter, from an Irish point of view, before a committee of the 
Irish House of Lords. He accordingly delivered his argument on 
the 9th of June, 1641 ; and though that great constitutional ques- 
tion has often been argued since, nothing has been added to his 
luminous and exhaustive treatment. His argument was published 
in 1643, and it may now be found on the shelves of the Library of 
Trinity College, Dublin ; but the House did not then come to any 
conclusion on the point. Other questions agitated the people. 
To them it mattered little whether the final Courts of Appeal 
were in Westminster or in Dublin, for as the Courts of the First 
Instance had fallen below contempt, so, also, had the Courts of 
Appeal. All were darkened with crimes of the darkest dye. 
The whole country was now disturbed with the complaints of 
those who had lost everything that made life worth living for. 
Their altars had fallen, their homes had been desecrated ; and 
with one voice, and with one intent, they appealed to arms, and 
rose as one man on the night of the 23rd of October, 1641. 
Massacres — wholesale massacres— are said to have followed each 
other with rapidity on every side and in every place in which the 
settlers had intruded. The English historians assert that 200,000 
Protestants perished in that indiscriminate slaughter. The Irish 
historians assert that neither 200,000, nor any lesser number, 
perished, except on the open field of battle. It is neither our wish 
nor our province to inquire upon w4iich side the truth lies, further 
than to say, that whatever excuse the injustice of the Government 
of Charles might have given for open and honourable war, yet that 
injustice gave not, and could not give, any excuse for massacres ; 
and that, beyond all doubt, whatever may have been done else- 
where, a massacre of unarmed men, women, and children did take 
place on the Bridge of Shruel, on the morning of Sunday, 13th of 
February, 1641-2. It has been said, on the one side, that no 
provocation could justify the cruelties that the English suffered 
at the hands of the Irish people. It is said, on the other, that 





the Englisli people brought those suiferings (in so far as they did 
suffer) upon their own heads, and they were not unfrequently 
asked what brought them here, and why did they forsake their own 
country for ours? why come hither to enjoy " lands that were not 
theirs, houses they had not built, and vineyards they had not 
planted"? Suffice it to state that the annals of the Province of 
Connaught are reddened with blood in those years. Of the trial 
of those accused of the murder on the Bridge of Shruel, we sh:ill 
defer speaking, until we arrive at the year 1652, when Theobald 
Bourke, Lord Mayo, was tried, found guilty, and executed for 
alleged complicity in that dreadful massacre. 

A.D. 1642. — The insurrection went on; but as the Irish people 
acted (unlike the Covenanters in Scotland) without either plan or 
co-operation, they were beaten in detail. The Catholic Bishops, 
seeing that the English Government was going from bad to worse, 
framed an oath of association, which all Catholics throughout the 
land were enjoined to take. It was sworn by hundreds, thousands, 
and tens of thousands, of every age and description, vowing, with 
uplifted hands and weeping eyes, that, with the Divine assistance, 
they would dedicate life and fortune to maintain the object of their 
solemn engagement ; and those who were bound together by this 
tie were called " the Confederate Catholics of Ireland." 

On the 24th of October, one year after the outbreak, the Confe- 
deration, or General Assembly, commenced its sittings in the 
ancient City of Kilkenny. Eleven spiritual and fourteen temporal 
peers, with 226 commoners, representing the Confederate Catholics, 
assembled on this occasion, and amongst them were the three great 
luminaries of the Connaught Circuit, Sir Lucas Dillon, Patrick 
Darcy, who acted as Speaker, and Geoffrey Browne.^ On every 
occasion, when difficult or delicate questions were to be discussed, 
these were the men upon whose learning, delicacy, and ability 
the Assembly could rely. 

Early in 1644, the Marquis of Ormond was raised to the dignity 
of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland ; and one of his first official acts was 
the removal of Chief Justice Donelan from the Court of Common 
Pleas, and commanding him to confine himself to his Court of 

Ancestor of Lord Oranmore. 


Atlilone. The President, Lord Eanelagh, died at the close of 
this 3^ear, and was succeeded by Thomas Yiscount Dillon and 
Charles Viscount Wilmot, joint presidents. On the petition of the 
Catholic gentry, a commission was issued to inquire into the 
murders that were alleged to have been committed in 1641. The 
commissioners sat from March until October, and then it was that 
those ex parte affidavits made in the case of the massacre on the 
Bridge of Shruel were taken, which are contained in Sterne MSS., 
Library, Trinity College, Dublin. 

To give an idea of some of the evidence there collected, look for 
the alleged massacre in Portadown, where " the ghosts of the poor 
murdered Protestants were seen rising from the water, and distinctly 
heard a-singing psalms and waving their hands, as though it were 
in vengeance." 

A.D. 1645. — Sir Charles Coote was this year appointed to the 
Presidency of Connaught, vacant by the resignation of Lords 
Dillon and Wilmot. This appointment, nominally by the Crown, 
was in reality made by the Parliament of England. Immediately 
he commenced a merciless onslaught on the Catholics and Eoyalists 
of the Province, desolating its plains with fire and sword, and 
finally taking possession of the town of Sligo. By his occupation 
of this post, Sir Charles had the means of keeping in check the 
Royalists of the neighbouring counties. 

Li 1649 Charles I. closed on the scaffold his career. 

A.D. 1650. — The Connaught Circuit had now for a season 
ceased to exist. Commissions were at uncertain times issued to 
the Judges ; but the danger of holding the Assizes between 1642 
and 1660, and the difficulty of getting together jurors, were so 
great, that it was considered advisable to depart from the ordinary 
system of trial by jury; and commissions from time to time were 
directed to special commissioners, who, after the manner of military 
tribunals, filled the office both of judges and jurors at the same 
time. The Catholic lawyers were scattered ; no longer allowed to 
practise at the bar, they enrolled themselves under the banner of 
the Confederation of Kilkenny, and thought of nothing but how 
they might get some foreign prince to take them under their pro- 
tection. Geoffrey Browne, long the ornament of the Connaught 
Circuit, was chosen by the Supreme Council, and approved by the 



Confederation, to proceed with Lord Taaffe and Sir Nicholas 
Plunket as a deputation to the Court of the Duke of Lorraine, to 
solicit the aid of that prince, who was of a most restless and 
intriguing disposition, and who was accustomed to sell at a high 
price the services of his army to the neighbouring powers. On the 
23rd of April, 1651, the deputies took their departure from Ireland 
for Amsterdam, where they arrived, after a voyage of six weeks, 
on the 6th of June. The following letter of Geoffrey Browne, 
from Brussels, to the Lord Deputy, is of great interest, showing as 
it does how deeply the King, Charles II., the Queen-mother, and the 
Court of Charles II. were implicated in the conspiracy set on foot 
by the Catholic Confederation to overturn the power of Cromwell in 
Ireland : — 

^' Geoffrey Browne to Lord Clanricarde (Lord Deputy of the Duke of 
Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland). 

" Brussels, 7th September, 1651. 
' * May it please your Excellency, — 

" Having come to sea out of Ireland, the 23rd of April, we landed not in 
this country till the Gth of June, according to the computation here, on 
which day in the evening we arrived in the river of Amsterdam, and the 
next morning we began our journey for this city, and came hither on the 12th 
of June, where, after a few days, we had audience with His Highness the 
Duke of Lorraine, and delivered our letters of credence and entered on a 
treaty according to our commission and instructions, and found, on debate, 
some alterations sought, different from the proceedings in Ireland ; and 
howbeit there were here with Lord Taaffe some grounds that might encourage 
us to proceed, as your lordship will find by the copies of His Majesty's letters 
of the 21st of January last, and of the Duke of Ormond his letters of the 
13th of March, both directed to Lord Taaffe, and here enclosed, yet to the 
end that nothing might be wanting, in pursuance of our instructions, we 
hastened your lordship's several letters to the Queen, to the Duke of York, 
and to the Duke of Ormond; and, upon debate amongst us, it was agreed 
that Lord Taaffe should repair to Paris with those letters, where then the 
Queen, the Duke of York, and the Duke of Ormond were. 

".On the 7th day of our coming hither, being the 19th of June, the 
Lord Taaffe began his journey to Paris, by whom we sent our instructions ; 
the representation being signed by your lordship, importing the present 
state of the country, and all other the papers that might give Her Majesty 
and the rest the full knowledge of those affairs, and accompanied those with 
our letters to Her Majesty, to His Highness, and the Duke of Ormond. The 
copies of these our letters, for your lordship's better information, are also 


here enclosed. And to avoid any loss of time in that matter, before wa 
had a return from Paris, we prepared the affairs here with the Duke of 
Lorraine the best we could, and solicited him with all earnestness for some 
present aids of money and ammunition. Matters being thus in agitation 
here with us, we received Her Majesty's letters in answer of ours, whereof 
the enclosed is a copy, by which and what the Lord Taaffe represented, we 
were fully satisfied and encouraged to proceed to a conclusion of that 

The treaty concluded was signed by the Duke of Lorraine, Lord 
Taaffe, Plunkett, and Geoffrey Browne, on the 2nd of July, 1651,^ 
whereby His Highness was declared Protector Eoyal of L-eland. He 
then advanced a sum of £15,000, and engaged to furnish, for the pro- 
tection of L-eland, all such supplies of arms, money, ammunition, 
shipping, and provisions, as the necessity of the case might require ; 
and, in return, the agents, in the name of the people and kingdom 
of Leland, conferred upon him, his heirs, and successors, the title 
of Protector Eoyal, together with the chief civil authority and 
command of the forces, but under the obligation of restoring both, 
on the payment of his expenses, to Charles II., the rightful 
sovereign. After some delay, the treaty arrived in Ireland, and 
Lord Clanricarde read it with indignation ; he asserted that Lord 
Taaffe, Sir Nicholas Plunkett, and Geoffrey Browne were for hand- 
ing over the kingdom to a foreign prince, and had transgressed 
their instructions, and were traitors to the King. The overthrow of 
the royal cause at the battle of Worcester, on the 3rd of September, 
1651, put an end to the negociations, and nothing more was heard 
of the treaty with the Duke of Lorraine. 

Browne then returned to Ireland, and was excepted by Cromwell's 
Act of Settlement in 1652 from pardon of life and estate, as also 
was Patrick Darcy. These two lawyers, partly because they were 
outlawed, and partly in common with all Catholics, because of their 
religion, were prevented from being engaged in the defence of those 
tried in Galway in the last-named year for the massacre of 16J:1. 
To Sir Charles Coote, President of the Connaught Presidency 
Court, were granted in 1652 the enormous estates, then declared to 
be confiscated, of the Marquis of Clanricarde, " said Sir Charles to 

1 '* Clanricarde's Memoirs," Part ii., p. 34. 



liave the custody of Portumna Castle, together with its gardens, 
orchards, and parks, until the Parliament should dispose of them, 
the same to he kept in good repair, the store of deer to he preserved, 
and no timber to he felled or waste to be done other than for the 
repair of the castle, reserving liberty from time to time of conve- 
nient apartments for the accommodation of the chief governors of 
the kingdom, as often as they should have occasion to repair thither 
for the transaction of public affairs ; Sir Charles Coote to give an 
inventory of what hangings and goods there were in the Castle. "I] 

A.D. 165*2. — The revolutionary Government of the Common- 
wealth now turned to satisfy their claims for vengeance. In IGi-l 
the Catholic nobility, as we have said, petitioned the King that 
an inquiry might be made into the murders alleged to have 
been perpetrated on each side in Ireland, and that justice might 
be executed on the offenders without difference of religion. The 
depositions taken on that commission were of the loosest 
description, and though the deponents were not subject to 
cross-examination, have ever since been regarded as evidence 
of the guilt of the parties charged with the massacres on the 
Bridge of Shruel, in 1611. Against Theobald Bourke, third 
Viscount Mayo, the fury of the Government was especially directed; 
a Protestant, he had been the pupil of the unfortunate Laud, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, who had then lately perished on the 
scaffold. The second Viscount was in early life a Protestant, but 
had become a Catholic, and was until his death, in 1619, a 
member of the Confederation of Kilkenny. He had been for a 
time one of the Supreme Council of that body. He was now dead, 
but death did not save his memory from the infamy sought to be 
cast on his name. Eleven years had passed without a trial, for, 
indeed, no judges went the Connaught Circuit, and no Assizes 
were held in those tumultuous times. But a new Court, called the 
High Court of Justice, w^as now — we speak of 1652 — established. 

Of the justice of the proceedings of this Court we have not the 
means of forming a satisfactory opinion ; but the passions of men 
were too much excited, and the forms of proceeding too summary, 
to allow the judges to w^eigh with cool and cautious discrimination 

1 (I T.r^Ar^^y 

Lodge*s Peerage," Vol. i., p. 306. 

TRIAL OF LORD MAYO, A.D. 1652. 89 

the different Ccases which came before them. Sir Richard Bourke 
Mac William Oughter, in the reign of Edward VI., married a chief- 
tainess, whose name is still mentioned in the traditions and songs 
of the country— Grana Uaile, in English Grace O'Malley. Their 
eldest son, Sir Theobald, was the first Viscount, and left by his 
wife four sons and three daughters, viz., Miles, the second Viscount, 
Daniel, Theobald the Strong, and Iron Dick ; Mary, married 
O'Conor Don ; Honora, married Ulick Burke, of Castle Hacket ; 
and Margaretj married Theobald Burke, of Tourlough. The 
second Viscount was father of the accused. ^ 

Trial of Viscount Mayo for Murder, A.D. 1652. 

A Special Commission for Galway was issued, and directed to 
Sir Charles Coote, President of the Connaught Presidency Court, 
and to ten other Commissioners, all comparative strangers to the 
county, whose names were Peter Stubbers, Humphrey Hard, Francis 
Gore, John Desdorough, Thomas Davies, Robert Ormsby, Robert 
Clarke, Charles Holcroft, John Eyre, and Alexander Staples. And 
they were commissioned to tjy Lord Mayo for the wilful murder, 
and of being accessory to the murder, of divers persons on the 
Bridge of Shruel, in the County of Galway, on Sunday, the 13th of 
February, 1641-2. The ordinary forms were departed from, and 
the Commissioners acted both as judges and jurors in the matter. 
The case was opened in the County of Galway Court-house on the 
31st December, 1652, and continued unto the 12th of January 

Counsel appeared for the Commonwealth, and also for the 

Shruel is a small village, three miles from Headford, on the 
road from Castlebar to Galway, and situated on the Black River, 
which, running in its westerly course through the village, separates 
the Counties of Mayo and Galway. It was on the bridge that 
spans the river, and on the Galway side of it, that the massacre 
was perpetrated. About four miles down the stream, towards 
Lough Corrib, into which it falls, stands the stately Abbey of 
Ross, whose reverend guardian, then a great personage in the 

* " Lodge's Peerage," tit. Viscount Mayo. 

40 TRIAL OF LORD MAYO, A.D. 1652. 

county,^ acted so conspicuous and so humane a part in putting a 
stop to a massacre unsurpassed in horrors. A few were saved, and 
amongst them was Dr. Maxwell, Protestant Bishop of Killala, his 
wife, children, and servants, whom the reverend guardian suc- 
ceeded in saving and sheltering in his Abbey. Miles Bourke, 
second Viscount, and father of the prisoner at the bar, was at that 
time, and all through his life, a firm supporter of the throne of 
Charles I., and had been jointly, with Lord Dillon, Governor of 
the County of Mayo. From the depositions of the Kev. John 
Goldsmith, it appeared that Lord Mayo's castle of Belcarra was 
the refuge of all the Protestant clergy of the county; that the 
Bishop of Killala, his wife, children, and servants, were also guests 
there, and continued to reside at that castle until it was provided 
that the English Protestant inhabitants of Castlebar should be 
permitted to march away with their arms, and be safely convoyed 
to Galway, Lord Mayo undertaking to accompany them as far as 
the Bridge of Shruel. The convoy left Castlebar on Tuesday, the 
8th of February, but, contrary to the stipulations of the treaty, 
the English were deprived of their arms, and, on Saturday night, 
arrived at Shruel. 

The number of Protestants who were being convoyed amounted 
to one hundred, and they were accompanied by five companies of 
soldiers for their security to Shruel, where two companies were to 
receive them over the bridge, being in the County of Galway. 
** The next day, being Sunday, the gentlemen of the barony of 
Kilmaine, in which barony Shruel is situated, finding themselves 
much burdened by the soldiers (having lain upon them four nights), 
entreated to be eased of them by sending them to their homes, for 
they had brought them to the end of the County of Mayo, where 
they were to be received -by the companies of Ulick Burke, of 
Castle Hacket," High Sheriff of the County of Galway, and " who 
lay that night within two miles of Shruel, and appointed to meet 
the company at Kil-e-monough, about a mile from Shruel, on Sun- 
day morning. Upon which earnest request of the gentry, Lord 
Mayo dismissed four of the five companies. His lordship having, 
according to the treaty, accompanied them to Shruel, and having 

' " Clanricarde's Memoirs," p. 131. 


seen the Bisliop, his wife and children, and all those who had 
horses, mounted, took his leave of them, and returned at a sharp 
trot, the weather being very cold, towards Cong, intending to remain 
for his son," the prisoner at the bar. The party had just crossed 
the bridge, a shot was fired, and a massacre commenced. In less 
than an hour thirty bodies were laid dead on the ground, some were 
tumbled into a hole on the roadside, and others flung into the dark 
waters of the Black river that ran red with blood into the lake on 
that fatal day. " Lord ^layo was dismounting, when a messenger 
rode up at a gallop, and informed him that, after he was out of 
sight, the company of soldiers who wounded and stripped him, with 
his wife and children, murthered some, and were murtheriug the 
remainder. Whereupon his lordship went instantly into his cham- ' 
her, and there wept bitterly, tearing his hair, and refusing to hear 
any manner of persuasion or comfort, or to be patient. Within 
half an hour came Sir Theobald Bourke, who, with tears in his 
eyes, related the trngedy, but could not certainly tell who was killed 
or who escaped ; but being demanded by his father why he would 
ever come away, but either have preserved their lives or have died 
with them, answered that when they began the slaughter, they 
charged him (having his sword drawn against them) both with 
their pikes and muskets, and would have killed him, but that 
John Garvey, High Sheriff of the County of Mayo, who was 
brother-in-law of the principal murderer, came in between him 
and them, took him in his arms, and, by the assistance of 
others, forcibly carried him over the bridge, brought him a horse, 
and caused him to be gone after his father, for that he could there 
do no good, but would be killed or endangered if he opposed them ; 
whereupon he came away. The next day his lordship, going to 
Cong, lay in bed two or three days without taking any sustenance." 
This narrative is confirmed by the depositions of the prisoner. Sir 
Theobald Bourke (then Lord Mayo), taken at Gal way, 15 th of 
November, 1652, a few weeks before the trialj 

The numbers slain on the Bridge of Shruel have been variously 
estimated. Pierce Lynch, an eye-witness, speaks of one hundred, as 
appears from the following letter from Lord Clanricarde to Captain 

» "Lodge's Peerage," Vol ii., p. 335. 



Willougliby, the Governor of St. Augustina's Fort, Galway, to] 
whom the convoy was consigned : — i\ 

"' Portumna Castle, 
'' Saturday, 19th Febry., 1641-2. 
" Captain Willoughby, — 

" I received yesterday a large relation of the inhuman and barbarous 
massacre of the poor English, from Pierce Lynch, my tenant at Shruel, who 
was an eye-witness of that cruelty being done upon and on each side of the 
bridge before the castle, the number of the English one hundred. He affirms 
that it was done by those in the County of Mayo, who, being before with my 
Lord Mayo, would fain have lodged within my castle, but neither entreaties 
nor threats could prevail ; he also relates that the Bishop of Killala, his 
wife, and some of his company were preserved by Mr. Ulick Burke,' of 
Castle Hacket, who sent carriages to convey them to his castle, being sick 
and almost starved ; and some others were kept alive in some other places 
thereabouts. If any of this county had a hand in that work, I shall hazard 
much to give them their due punishment 

" Clanricarde and St. Albans." 

The Bishop of Killala thus writes of his condition to the Mar- 
quis of Clanricarde : — 

" Castle Hacket, 18th February, 1641-2. 

" May it please your Lordship, 

" It may seem truly to be a presumption above an ordinary strain, 
that so unfortunate a wretch, in so poor and despicable a condition, should 
attempt to trouble your honour, in such a way as I am cast upon by an 
inevitable necessity; but the knowledge and confidence I have, that good- 
ness attends insuperably your greatness, answerable to your honour's noble 
birth, worth, and breeding, consummated and made complete by that trust 
his Royal Majesty hath put on you in this county, hath emboldened me to 
cast myself at your honour's feet, and humbty to beg, for God's, the King's, 
and your honour's sake, to be a protector and benefactor to me, your humble 
suppliant. What my misfortunes and sufitjrings were on Sunday last at 
Shruel, as without tears 1 cannot, so with good manners I may not, relate 
to your lordship, only lest I should be ungrateful to God. I remember 
His mercies; first, that miraculously, of God's undeserved mercy, I, my 
wife, three children, two women-servants, and a man-servant, were pre- 
served. I pray God it be in mercy. Next, though all stripped naked, yet 
none wounded but myself and my man-servant, and that, blessed be God, 
not deadly or dangerously ; thirdly, which is a mercy abcve all, that a noble 

' " Clanricarde's Memoirs," p. 37. 



gentleman, Captain Ulick Burke, and his noble bed-fellow/ sent a surgeon* 
of his own to me and other servants, who, with all tender care, brought me 
on Tuesday to Castle Hacket,'*^ where I have been and am so tenderly and 
heartily attended, as it siirpasseth all expression; I pray God that they may 
find mercy in the day of their need, and to enable me to be a servant to this 
family. To all these, I add the last, which encourageth me most, that God is 
dealing with me in mercy ; that now I am under the shadow of your wings 
and protection of him who is known to be piously devout, generously noble, 
and most faithfully loyal. Let me then humbly supplicate your lordship 
that you would compassionate a poor, miserable, yet innocent man, provide 
for him and his safe convoy to Galway, or anywhere else you think fit, from 
whence I may be transported by sea to see King Charles, the thing worldly 
I wish most, not in the word of a priest to complain, for God's grace and 
my afflictions here and elsewhere have taught me to forgive and pray for 
them that wrong me. Next, I beg (alas ! I am ashamed to express, but 
necessity exj^orteth it) that you would be pleased to help me with some 
money to supply me and mine. My lord, I dare to promise, however I be 
low here and not much known, yet I am neither so much forgotten by my 
gracious Sovereign, nor undervalued for my past service to and suffering for 
him, but what your lordship shall expend, either for my conduct or support, 
shall not only be well taken, but wholly repaid and rewarded. I could say 
more in this kind, but modesty and my poor condition commands my silence. 
Would God I were as well known to your lordship as to some of your noble 
friends at Court, or at least as near to them in place as to your lordship. My 
lord, pardon my expressions in this case. I thank God it is the first of this 
kind, and I must forbear, for many reasons, to enlarge myself in this subject. 
Closing with begging humble pardon for my unmannerly, importunate 
boldness, and praying God Almighty to keep you long alive for his Majesty's 
service, and for the encrease of honour upon your noble family. These are, 
and ever shall be, the fervent and constant prayer of, my lord, your honour's 
daily orator, humble suppliant, and devoted servant, 


" P.S. — May it please your lordship to do me the honour to understand, 
by two lines from any of your lordship's servants, your lordship's pleasure. " 

^ This noble bed-fellow was the Honourable Honora Bourke, daughter 
of Lord (Viscount) Mayo. 

2 The Castle Hacket Surgeon, Dr. Jameson, then lived at Ower, near 

^ From Sunday, 13th February, to Tuesday, the 15th, the Bishop was, 
with his family, entertained at the Abbey of Ross ; the Prior being Father 
Bryan, Kilkenny. 

* The reason why the Bishop signs his name as Rossensin is that he was 
Bishop of Ross in Scotland ; his patent had not as yet been made out for 
his new See of Killala, to which he had been just translated from Ross. It is 
not unworthy of observation that it was inan Abbey of Ross he now found shelter. 


" Immediately upon receipt of tins letter," writes the Marquis 
of Clanricarde to the Lords Justices, " I wrote to Mr. Ulick Burke, 
commending his fair carriage and respect to my Lord of Killala, 
and earnestly pressed the continuance of it." — 21st Feb., 164:1-2. 

On the 19th March, 1611-2, Lord Clanricarde thus writes to 
the Lords Justices conceruiug the massacre : — 

' ' The Bishop of Killala, his wife and children, escaped happily with their 
lives, being stripped, and the bishoj) hurt. Mr. Ulick Burke, of Castle 
Hacket, relieved them, and kept them with much care and respect a long time 
at his house, and after my directions conveyed them (7th March), safe to 
Galway, when I was there. Your lordship's humble servant, 

"Clanricarde and St. Albans." 

Eight months after the fatal affray, Lord Clanricarde proceeded 
to Shruel to visit the place. The following is from the Memoirs 
of his lordship : — 

" Upon the 27th of November, 1642, I went from Tuam to Shruel, a fair 
stronge castle of my own in the County of Mayo, but divided from this county 
by the river, upon which is a fair stronge bridge, made most infamous by the 
horrid and bloody massacre of about one hundred English and Scots, most 
of them massacred by their own convoys. Out of the inliuman massacre very 
strangely escaped Maxwell, Lord Bishop of Killala, and his wife and children. 
He was stripped and dangerously wounded, and at last found and releeved 
by Mr. Ulick Burke, of Castle Hacket, being within the county upon those 
borders, and there he was carefully attended until he w^as able to travel ; and 
I sent a convoy to wait upon him to Galway, where I shewed him the best 

The prisoner's defence, as given in Cox,^ was that ** he was not 
in command of the convoy, and that he and his servants had only 
come to attend his father ; that on the cry of murder being raised, 
he rushed over the bridge and drew his sword, with a view to 
protect the English ; but being fired at by one of the murderers, he 
got a horse, having actually lent his own to the Bishop of Killala 
to make his escape, and rode away before the murder was com- 
mitted ; and that if he had not fled, he must have been killed 
himself; that he had been always kind to the English, and 
preserved many of them both before and after that time ; and further, 
that the Bishop of Killala had declared to him, that he believed 

^ ^* History of Ireland " by Sir Richard Cox, Lord High Chancellor of Ire- 
laud, A.D. 1703. 


that this transaction (the massacre) was done in spite of the 
prisoner. Doctor Maxwell could not then be examined, for having 
been made Archbishop of Tuam, he died in 1645;, but, by letter, he 
acknowledged his civility to himself. '^ The acts of kindness which 
the prisoner and his father had done towards the English are 
narrated by Henry Bingham in his depositions^ which were con- 
firmed by the prisoner in his affidavit, made, as we have said^ on 
the 15th of November, a few weeks before the trial, with a view to 
show that neither the prisoner nor his father had any animosity to 
the English settlers. 

The prisoner's counsel, having commented on the total absence 
of evidence to connect him with the massacre, called for an 
acquittal. Counsel for the Commonwealth replied, and the Court 
divided, when it was found that they were not unanimous ; that 
seven — Sir Charles Coote, Peter Stubbers, Humphrey Hurd, John 
Desborough, Eobert Ormsby, John Eyre, and Alexander Staples — 
were for a conviction ; and four — Erancis Gore, Thomas Davis, 
Robert Clerk, and Charles Holcroft — were for an acquittal. The 
President, Sir Charles Coote, then passed sentence of death upon 
him J and the unfortunate nobleman was executed on the 15tli of 
January, in Galway, where he was buried. It is mentioned by 
Lodge, that ''the soldiers appointed to shoot him mis ed him 
three times, but at last a corporal, blind of an eye, hit him." His 
estates of fifty thousand acres and five manors were then seized by 
the Government, and his orphan child allowed a miserable pittance 
of £30 a-year. Thus perished Theobald, third Viscount Mayo, 
on evidence which should have acquitted him — evidence which 
influenced four of his judges to pronounce him not guilty ; and we 
read with satisfaction that others have denounced that trial as a 
mockery upon the forms of justice.^ That a dreadful massacre 
took place, which not even the cruelties of the English'^ could 
justify, there can be no doubt ; but that Lord Mayo or his father 
was in the remotest degree connected with that massacre it is 
absurd to suppose. Although Miles, the second Viscount, had 
joined the Church of Ptome, yet his wife was a Protestant, his 

' Fpoude's ''English in Ireland," Vol. i., pp. 80-86. 
^ Leland's '" History of Ireland," Vol. iii., p. 394. 



unfortunate son was a Protestant, and lie was the nobleman w^ho 
had sheltered the Protestant clergy who were flying from one end 
of the county to the other. Lord Mayo was, perhaps, wrong in not 
accompanying the convoy to Kil-e-monough ; hut if he had erred 
in not doing so, his son, whose trial we have just told, was unable 
to stay the effusion of blood. It required the influence of the aged 
Prior of Ross Abbey to do so. That the Government of the 
Restoration did not believe him guilty of having part in this 
atrocious murder is manifested by the fact that Charles II. at once 
restored the fourth Viscount, in 1661, to the enormous estates 
confiscated by the Commonwealth. 

A.D. 1654. — Other courts were now established in the Province 
of Connaught. The Court of Claims sat at the Castle of Athloue, 
a Court which had been established by force of an Act passed 
during the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, by Parliament sitting 
at Westminster, 1652, for the new planting of Ireland with Eng- 
lish.' {Vide infra, Appendix.) All Ireland was thereby declared 
to be forfeited, and the three Provinces, Leinster, Ulster, and Mun- 
ster, were to "be weeded of the Popish proprietors," and they, 
not the peasantry, were to be transplanted. Connaught, which 
then comprehended Clare, was selected for their habitation by 
reason of its being surrounded by the sea on the one side and 
the Shannon on the other, all but ten miles in the County Leitrim, 
which could be easily protected, and the whole easily made into one 
line by a few forts. To secure their imprisonment, and cut them 
ofl:' from relief by land and sea, a belt of a mile wide, called the 
mile line, commenced at Sligo, and sweeping round by the coast 
and Shannon, was reserved for plantation by the soldiery. To 
Connaught all the Irish proprietors were to remove at latest, under 
the penalty of death, on the 1st May, 1654. Thereupon applica- 
tions, numbers without number, were made seeking dispensations, 
'' so that the commissioners were overwhelmed with them." From 
the remotest parts of Leinster, Ulster, and Munster, the exodus 
commenced; and in the depth of winter the transplanted were 
hunted from their homes into Connaught. Arrests, trials, and 
deaths were numerous. Mr. Edward Hetherington, of Kiluema- 

' Prendergast's " Cromwellian Settlement," p. 93. 


nafjli, tried bv court-martial sitting in St. Patrick's Cathedral, 
Dublin, was banged on tbe 3rd of April, 1655, with placards on 
his breast and back, " for not transplanting/' The transplanted 
were to present to the Commissioners of Kevenue inventories, set- 
ting forth the quantity of tillage thej' were leaving, and the number 
and names of persons in their families, in order that they (the com- 
missioners) might set them out lands competent to the stock that 
they were bringing from their confiscated homes into Connaught. 

Unable to compete with the press of business, special Commis- 
sioners were directed to sit at Loughrea, and thenceforth were 
known as the Loughrea Commissioners— being " William Edwards, 
Edward Doyly, Charles Holcroft, and Henry Greenoway, Esquires,^ 
for the setting out of lands in Connaught to the transplanted Irish, 
who are to remove thither before the 1st of May, 1654/' 

It is easy to conceive the feelings of the Connaught Catholic 
proprietor, on finding himself and his family turned out of his 
ancient home, to make way for the Ulster Catholic transplanter, 
armed with an assignment from the Commissioners at Loughrea, 
who, however, did not proceed to allotment until the Court of 
Claims discriminated their qualifications, and ascertained the size 
of the lands they had just then forfeited. The Parliamentary 
Government caused a survey of the entire island to be made and 
laid " down '^ to a scale, whence its name, " The Down Survey.^' It 
filled thirty-one folio volumes, which in the year 1711 were in great 
part destroyed by a fire which took place in a house in Essex-street, 
where the Surveyor-General's office was then kept. We must re- 
gret, also, the loss on that occasion of the proceedings of the Court 
of Claims and Qualifications at Athlone/ In order to supply the 
deficiencies occasioned by the fire. General Yallancey, by command 
of George III., and with the permission of the King of France, 
was employed to take copies from a set of barony maps of the Down 
Survey, which had been captured by a French privateer on the 
passage from Ireland to England, and deposited in the Royal 
Library, Paris. Owing to the fire, the proceedings of this Court 
of Justice are but little known. Without much ceremony the 

^ Prendergast's ' ' Cromwellian Settlement," p. 147. 
^ Morrin's Pat. Hot. , Preface, xviii. 




lands were confiscated, the ancient proprietors displaced, and the- 
strangers granted their inheritance. Of such was the following case. 
Li re the Estate of Burke, of Castle Hacket, heard in Athlone 
in the month of May, 1656, when counsel appeared for the un- 
fortunate proprietor, whose title to his vast estates reached 
back to the year 1179, when William FitzMlem DeBurgh was 
granted, by patent, the several quarters now confiscated. The 
castle of Castle Hacket, as the name imports, was built by a person 
named Hacket,^ a follower of the De Burghs, who accompanied 
Richard the Red Earl of Ulster on an expedition against Bruce of 
Scotland. From William FitzAdlem the estates descended to his 
descendant Ulick, who died at Castle Hacket in 1419. In 1684 a 
Commission, by command of Queen Elizabeth, issued, directed to 
John Creston, Escheator-General, to hold Courts of Inquiry in the 
Province of Connaught, as to the titles of the several proprietors, 
and he, on the 29th of January in that year, caused a jury to be 
empannelled in the town of Gal way, and they being sworn found on 
their oaths^ : — 

" That Ulick (Burke) M'Redmimd Mac Moiler, of Castle Hacket, in 
the County of Galway, died on the 27th of September, 1571, and the 13th 
year of the reign of our Lady Elizabeth ; also the aforesaid jurors upon their 
oath say, that the said Ulick M'Redmund upon the day upon which he 
died, with others of his race, was seized in his demesne, as of fee, of the 
stone castles or curtillages called Castle Hacket and Cahcrmorris, and of 
twenty-seven quarters of land of every kind, with their appurtenances, 
called the lands of yellow John M'Redmund, in the country of Moynter- 
Morgho, in the County of Galway. But they say that said Ulick, as the 
principal of his race, had precedence over the rest during his life, and that 
he wiped away and imposed all the burdens on the said lands at his own 
pleasure ; and they say that the aforesaid castles, called Castle Hacket and 
Cahermorris, with twenty-seven quarters of land aforesaid, with their appur- 
tenances, were held of our Lady the Queen, but by what S3rvice they are 
entirely ignorant. The said jurors also on their oaths say that the said 
Ulick M'Redmund begat from his wife, Catharine M'Hedmund, a son 
named yellow John M'Redmund, who claims the said castles and lands for 
himself by right of heirship, as the eldest son and heir of Ulick M'Red- 
mund ; and they say that said yellow John M'Redmund was thirteen years 

' " O'Flaherty's lar Connaught, p. 148." " Calendar of Pat. Rolls," 
31 Edw L, No. 21 ; 3 and 4 Edw. II., No. 127. 
' "Inquisitions of 1584, Co. Galway." 



of age at the time of the death of his said father. Moreover, the said jurors 
on their oaths say, that the Lord Count Clanricarde claims an annual rent of 
twenty marks sterling on the entire of Moynter-Morgho (now barony of 
Clare), of which country the aforesaid lands form a part, but whether duly 
and of right the said Count claims the same, the said jurors are ignorant. 

*' Thomas Creston, Escheator.'* 
A.D. 1585. 

This verdict was followed by the deed of composition, whereby 
her Majesty, by the Lord Deputy, Sir John Perrott, granted to said 
John Buy M'Redmund the estates in fee-simple, to descend ac- 
cording to English law. In 1619, James I. confirmed by patent^ 
those identical lands to Ulick Burke, eldest son of John Burke, 
and his heirs. 

Ulick died 1655, and was succeeded by his eldest son, John, for 
whom counsel now appeared. One would have thought that the 
shelter afforded to the Bishop of Killala, on the fatal day at Shruel, 
should have protected the Burkes in their hour of trial ; but all 
was forgotten, and on the 21st of June, 1656, the Court made a 
decree adjudging that John Burke was to enjoy a fractional part 
of his territory, which was determined by the decree of the 
Commissioners sitting at Loughrea, as follows : — 

" By the Commissioners for setting out lands to the Irish in the Province 
of Connaught. 

^ " Grant from the King to Ulick Burke FitzJohn, of Castle Hacket, 
Gent., Gal way County, Clare Barony. The castle, town, and lands of Castle 
Hacket, 3^ qrs. ; Carrowcam, 1 qr. ; Caldragh, | qr. ; Tarrataxtan, ^ qr. ; 
Skenagh, ^ qr. ; Kildrume, 2 qrs. ; Manuflyn, 2 qrs. ; Carrowkeeleegh- 
sthanboy, 1 qr. ; Annaghkeene, 2 qrs. ; Ower, 2 qrs. ; Tobbercrussawn, 
1 qr. ; Elly, 1 qr. ; Ballyconlagh, | qr. ; Killarie, 1 qr. ; Croughbuolly, 
1 qr. ; Cahermacenally, 1 qr. [Then follows grant of a cartron of land, 
quarters, ^ quarters, and fractional parts of | quarters, such as |th of 30 
half quarters of Ballaghicarda and other unspellable and unpronounceable 
names, and extending over an area of many square miles.] " The premises 
are created the Manor of Castle Hacket, with six hundred acres in demesne, 
power to create tenures, to hold a fair at Castle Hacket on St. Matthew's 
Day, 21st September, and two days following, unless that day occurs on a 
Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, in which case the fair shall be held on 
Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday following, with a court of pie-poudre, 
and the usual tolls rent, ten shillings, to hold to Riccard, Earl of Clanricarde, 
and his heirs, by the fortieth part of a knight's fee, as appears by an Inqui- 

Isition taken at Athenry on the 11th September, 1617." [Patent Rolls, 1619.] 


" In pursuance of the decree of the Commissioners for the'ad judication of 
claims and qualifications of the Irish granted in the behalf of John Burke, 
of Castle Hacket, in the County of Gal way, whereby he is adjudged to have 
and enjoy two-thirds part of his estates by virtue of the eighth qualification, 
in which he is comprised, and one-third part of his estate in mortgage by 
virtue of the seventh qualification, in which he is included. It is ordered 
that John Burke be and he is hereby empowered to' enter and take pos- 
session of the lands ensuing, viz., the two quarters of Ower, and other 
quarters hereon endorsed, to have, hold, and enjoy several the premises, 
with all the houses, hereditaments, gardens, orchards, and all improvements 
and appurtenances whatsoever, and the rents, issues, and profits thereto 
belonging, in full satisfaction of his estate, according to his decree to 
him, his heirs, and assigns, for ever ; and the High Sherifi" of the said 
county, or his Deputy, is hereby authorised and required to put the said 
John Burke, or his assigns, into quiet and actual possession of the premises. 
Dated at Loughrea, the 1st September, 1 657. 

" Charles Holcroft. 
''Henry Greenway.'* 

A portion of the Castle Racket estate was then bestowed on a 
Catholic, Sir Patrick Barnewall, resident in and transported from 
the County of Dublin. The residue thereof was parcelled out to 
Protestants, Sir Edward Ormsby, Lord Collooney, and Sir Oliver 
St. George.^ The costs which the unhappy proprietor, who was 
married to a daughter of Lord Athenry, incurred in rescuing from 
destruction the remnant of his estate, and in removing to Ower, was 
^200, equivalent to ^1600 present value. The Barnewalls appear 
to have been transplanted much against their will. They had 
petitioned against being transplanted, but to no purpose; and 
the strict imprisonment of the transplanted in Conn aught may 
be estimated, when it required a special order for Sir Patrick 
Barnewall, and others, to repass the bridge of Athlone into the 
Leinster side on their private business, and only on their giving 
security that they would not go outside the limits of the town. 
The miseries suffered by the dispossessed Connaught proprietors 
were equalled by those of the transplanted, who were compelled to 
travel mostly on foot, from the remotest parts of Ireland to the 
bridge of Athlone, and once in Connaught were assailed by those 
whose estates they were obtruded into- The horror with which the 

^ "Book of Survey and Distributions." 


transplanted regarded the transplantation may be gathered from the 

In re the Estate of Thomas Toomey and others, heard in the 
Court-house of Mallow, on Saturday, 30th August, 1656, the 
Judges being the infamous Cook, of the Upper Bench (previously 
King's Bench), who had been solicitor for the Commons on the 
trial of Charles I., and Mr. Justice Halsey. 

Messrs. Silver and Hoare (instructed by Fisher, Jones^ and 
Barber, Solicitors) appeared for the claimants. 

From the statement of counsel, it appeared that the claimant 
Toomey owned a house in Kinsale, under a lease made in 1635. 
He was a shipwright, and worked in the King's dockyard there. 
It was proved that he shut the gates against the Irish in 1641, 
that he served as a corporal under Captain John Farlo, that he 
kept watch and ward when the rebels besieged the town. It came 
out, however, that after Inchiquin revolted from the Parliament in 
1649, and returned to the king's side, contribution was collected 
by the magistrates, and paid by Toomey and all the other inhabi- 
tants of Kinsale to the king's receivers. This act deprived the 
claimant of the plea of constant good affection, which counsel for 
the Commonwealth insisted took them out of the ninth and 
brought them under the eighth qualification. 

Mr. Silver, for Toomey, asked that judgment, upon the point 
of " constant good affection," be entered for him. 

Mr. Justice Cook. — ** Negative.'* 
Mr, Justice Halsey. — " Negative." 

Their lordships made then the following order : — ^* It is adjudged 
that Mr. Thomas Toomey hath not manifested ' constant good 
affection,' but falls within the eighth qualification ; he is to have 
two parts of his estate in Connaught. Let counsel for Thomas 
Toomey proceed upon his title." 

Mr. Silver. — " He is resolved not to go into Connaught." 
Mr. HoARE, counsel for several other claimants. — " And so are 
all my clients ; and we ask the judgment of the Court as to whether 
they, and how many of them, have proved their constant good 
affections." (Naming twelve of them.) 




Court. — " We have considered the several causes of every 
claimant in Court, and have singled out ahout thirty which may 
come nearest to constant good affection. And we cannot find that 
any of them hath manifested constant good affection according to 
the strict rule of law, but all fall short in some point or other. '^ fl^B 

Claimants^ Counsel. — " Our clients are resolved not to tal^^^ 
any lands in Connaught.^' 

Court. — " They must transplant according to law." 

The claimants here made a noise, some of them saying, '' that 
they had rather go to Barbadoes than into Connaught.^' 

The lands forfeited were subjected to a new annual imposition, 
to which they are yet liable, called Quit Rent, being three half- 
pence an acre in Connaught. This species of rent is distinguishable 
from Crown Rents, which were the rents formerly paid by tenants 
of the religious houses to the abbots and priors, and which, by 
the statutes 28 and 33 Henry VIII., chapters 16 and 6, became 
and were thenceforward payable to the Crown. Consequently lands 
not held of the monasteries do not pay Crown Rent. 

A.D. 1660. — Immediately on the Restoration in 1660, Charles II. 
promoted Sir James Donelan to be Chief Justice of the Common 
Pleas in Dublin ; while in the same year, Charles Coote, the 
President of the Connaught Presidency Court, was raised to the 
peerage, with the title of Earl of Mountrath. The instructions 
given to him on this occasion are worthy of being preserved, point- 
ing as they do to the jurisdiction of the Presidency Court of 
Connaught at the period of the Restoration. 

" Instructions by the Eling to our right trusty and well-beloved cousin 
and counsellor, Charles, Earl of Mountrath, our President of our Province 
of Connaught, in our Kingdom of Ireland. We have, under a commission 
under our Great Seal, constituted you our President of our Province of Con- 
naught, diligently to hear and determine by the advice and assistance of our 
counsel there, or any two of them, all civil actions, as well real as personal, 
and all suits and controversies whatsomever betwix party and party, and 
shall punish all such offences and misdemeanors in such manner and form, 
and according to such process and processes, by fine and imprisonment and 
corporal punishment, as had or might formerly be lawfully used in the time 
and during the government of Richard, Earl of Clanricarde, Ulick, Earl of 
Clanricarde, or Charles, Lord Ranelagh, formerly Lord President of that 


" You shall keep a jail delivery at all times when you shall see cause 
within the said province, and therein take cognizance of all treasons, felonies, 
and other criminal offences whatsoever, and proceed to the execution of all 
traytors, felons, and other delinquents, or otherwise punish them according 
to the laws of Ireland, in such manner and form as the justices of jail 
delivery or former Presidents of our province might or used to do. 

" You shall cause the oath of allegiance to be administered to all our 
subjects inhabiting that province, and proceed according to law against such 
as refuse the same. Given at our Council at Whitehall, 17 March, 1660, 
and in the 13th year of our raigne." 

Then follow the names of the Privy Council of Connaught, viz., 
Sir James Donelan, Chief Justice ; the Archbishop of Tuam ; the 
Bishops of Elpliin and Killala ; Lords Ranelagh and Collooney ; 
Sirs Robert Hanny, George Bingham, Oliver St. George, Robert 
Law, and Edward Crofton, Baronets ; Arthur Gore, Francis 
Garvey, Robert Parker, George St. George, Henry Waddington, 
and Robert Morgan, Esquires. 

Lord Mountrath had now been President of Connaught for six- 
teen years. He had served under the Commonwealth, and had 
fought against the Crown, and the Second Charles rewarded his 
long hostility and his sudden conversion by heaping honours upon 
him. But he did not long enjoy those honours ; he died on the 
18th of December, 1660, and was interred in St. Patrick's 
Cathedral. His successor was Lord Berkley, a nobleman of 
upright intentions and moderate principles. His patent is dated 
13th of January, 1661. The judges once more commenced to go, 
as in times previous to 1641, the Connaught Circuit, and with 
regularity, twice a-year ; but those barristers who before the 
rebellion practised there had one by one fallen away. Thomas 
Lynch FitzMarcus was gone ; so were John Blake, and Robert 
Clarke, and Geoffrey Browne. But Patrick D^Arcy still was there. 
We have followed him in his career, and admired him as a leader of 
the bar ; but he now, in his sixty-second year, crosses our path, and 
in a widely different character — as a second in a threatened duel, 
and between two of the judges. It appears that amongst the early 
acts of Charles XL, on his restoration in 1660, was the appoint- 
ment of the justices of the Superior Courts, and amongst them 
were Sir Jerome Alexander, second Justice of the Common Pleas, 
■ and Sir William Aston, second Justice of the King's Bench, and 


they had a curious quarrel ahout precedence. The king's letter 
for the latter hears an earlier date than that of Sir Jerome. 
Their patents passed on the same day, and hoth were sworn 

Sir Jerome was of longer standing in the English Inns of 
Court, and published his view of the case in a guarded, polite, and 
learned manner, with his name annexed thereto. To this an 
anonymous and libellous answer was given. It was imputed to 
Sir William, as his side of the question was not only vindicated, 
but some presumed conversation between those legal disputants 
introduced and animadverted upon. Patrick D'Arcy was sent by 
Sir Jerome to demand an explanation, and a regular challenge 
succeeded, on Sir William's refusal to make the slightest concession, 
or even to explain the fact. Though Aston figured as a colonel 
during the then late usurpation, he now showed "the white feather,^' 
declined the combat, and applied for a criminal information against 
D'Arcy. This application was refused by Aston's brethren, the 
learned Judges of the King's Bench, Chief Justice Barry and Mr. 
Justice Stockton, on the ground that Sir William did not deny in 
his affidavit that he wrote the libel, or was privy to the publication. 
Thus the breach was drawn wider, and Aston had now to contend 
with a widely different antagonist, Patrick D'Arcy, who threatened 
to horsewhip his lordship the first moment they met, and there- 
upon Sir William disappeared from Irish society, and did not 
return for eight years, until he learnt that D'Arcy was dead, and 
that no champion awaited his return to chastise him. This 
singular event operated like a patent of indemnity for duels. The 
king, notwithstanding his contempt for the cowardly libeller, 
resolved to remove both from the Bench, and was with difficulty 
prevailed upon to withhold such just resentment. Sir Jerome was 
a man of strong passion, but great integrity and known public 
spirit. He left his library, amongst other bounties, to Trinity 
College, Dublin. 

D'Arcy's name frequently is to be met with in pleadings in 
Connaught cases. He went circuit regularly, and practised before 
the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, Sir James Donelan, who 
was invariably one of the Connaught Judges of Assize with Oliver 
Jones, then Chief Justice of that Province. In 1665 Sir James 



died, and it is said iu the Liber Munerum Hibernice that he was 
interred iu St. Michan's Charch, Dublin. No such entry, however, 
exists in the lists of interments in that sacred building; and it 
appears far more probable that his remains were laid in Christ 
Church Cathedral, where his wife, who was a Miss Browne, of 
Coolarne, in the County of Galway^ was afterwards buried. Sir 
James Donelan left at his decease a son, Loughlin Donelan, father 
of Nehemiah Donelan, who in his turn became a leader on the 
Connaught Circuit, and was Recorder of Galway from 1691 to 
1694. He represented Galway from 1692 to 1695, was made 
Prime Sergeant in 1693, and iu 1695 Chief Baron of the Court of 
Exchequer. The picture of this distinguished judge, as well as that 
of his grandfather, are in the possession of his descendant, Dermot 
O'Conor Donelan, J. p., nephew of the writer of these pages, of 
Sylane, near Tuam. They are dressed, the one as Chief Justice, in 
the scarlet robe and black cap, then (1665) worn by the members 
of the Bench, and the other as Chief Baron, in the black gown with 
the wig and bands, then (1706) introduced for the first time as 
the dress alike of judges and of lawyers. Patrick D'Arcy died in 
1668, and was interred in the Abbey of Kilconnell, near Aughrim,^ 
in the County of Galway. 

The year 1672 is memorable in the annals of Connaught as 
being the last year of the Presidency Court of Connaught ; its last 
Chief Justice being William Spring, and its last Second Justice, 
Sir Ellis Leighlin. 

' Harris' ''Irish Writers." 




A.D. 1673. 



HE abolition of the Connauglit Presidency Court, which 
for the space of 103 years bad held its sittings at 
Athlone, was followed by the immediate departure of 
the officials and professional men practising in that 
Court to the Superior Courts in Dublin. Here the 
rivalry awaited them of men whose professional labours 
would one day be rewarded by those honours from which 
the great majority of the Connaught lawyers, as far as we have 
been enabled to gather, were, being Roman Catholics, excluded. 
And yet the Connaught lawyers were in no way inferior to their 
brethren of the Superior Courts. We have seen how Patrick 
D'Arcy, and Lucas Dillon, and Geoffrey Browne fulfilled the trusts 
reposed in them ; how they fought for the altar and the throne ; and 
how, when the throne had fallen, they were still faithful to the prince 
whose power they sought to re-establish. These men, indeed, were 
now gone, but their places were filled by others, who, not inferior 
in ability, followed in their footsteps. Such were Peter Martyn, of 
Kilconnell (of the family of the Martyns, of Tullyra, in the County 
of Galway), who, in after years, ascended the Bench, and John 
Browne, of Westport, younger son of Sir John Browne, of the 
Neale, Bart, (ancestor of the Marquess of Sligo), whose name, 
together with the names of Sir Toby Butler, and Gerald Dillon, 
shall live on in the history of their country so long as the Treaty of 
Limerick is remembered. Such, too, were Sir Henry Lynch, of 
Castle Carra, and Thomas Lynch Fitzlsidore, and the Right 
Honourable Denis Daly, of Carrownakelly. These men were 
Catholics. Nor was the Protestant faith unrepresented. Protestant 


barristers of great eloquence had practised in the Connaught Provin- 
cial Court. There were Nehemiah Donelan (afterwards Chief Baron 
of the Court of Exchequer^ grandson of Chief Justice Sir James 
Donelan), and Robert Ormsby. During the entire reign of Charles II. 
the Catholic lawyers went to the foremost ranks of the bar, though 
preferment for them was an impossibility. The temper of the 
English people, indeed^ would not permit the Crown to raise to the 
Bench men who, according to the Scriptural phraseology of those 
days, were deceived ''by the enchantments of the Church of Rome.'' 
But deeper still than their hatred to that Church lay a feeling of 
uneasiness lest, if Catholic lawyers were raised to the Bench, the 
Act of Settlement, which it was supposed had secured the settlers 
in their estates, would become, as it were, a nullity. It was, 
indeed, on the very point of becoming a nullity even under the 
Court of Claims. By the of Settlement (1662), the "nocence " 
or the '' innocence '* of the Catholic claimants was to have been 
inquired into by this Court. English Protestant lawyers of great 
eminence, and who were above suspicion, were named in the com- 
mission, and they held their sittings at the King's Inns^ in Dublin. 
In the first session, 187 Catholics presented petitions to be restored 
to their estates, and, to the consternation of the Protestant interest, 
168 of these claims were allowed, and 19 rejected. Forthwith 
the Act of Explanation was hurried through both Houses of Parlia- 
ment, the court was closed, and on the day of its closing 3,000 
claims were left unheard, and the last hope of the Catholic 
proprietors of the soil was extinguished for ever. From that time 
to the present the great bulk of the Irish landlords has been 

A.D. 1685. — The accession of James II. brought brighter 
hopes to the great majority of the Connaught bar. Their 
faith was no longer to be in the way of their advancement, 
and accordingly we find among the first appointments to the 
Bench the following Catholics : — Thomas Nugent, of Pallas, in 
the County of Galway, second son of the Earl of Westmeath. 
On the 15th of October, 1687, he succeeded Richard Pyne as Chief 

' The ancient priory of St. Dominic, where the Four Courts now stand 
on the Inns Quay. 



Justice of the Court of King's Bench, and, by patent of the 3rd of 
April, 1689, was created Baron Nugent, of Riverston, in West- 
meath ; but his title having been conferred after the king was 
declared to have abdicated, it was never, after the Revolution, 
recognized. On the 6th of July, 1689, he was appointed a 
Commissioner of the Treasury in Ireland, as he was again on the 
17th of June, 1690, but " was afterwards outlawed for being 
engaged in rebellion against King William." The family of 
Thomas Nugent have long been settled at Pallas, in the County of 
Gal way, and their representative has acquired, in recent years, by 
the death of the last of the elder branch of the Nugeuts, the ancient 
coronet of the Earls of Westmeath. 

The next appointment was that of Denis Daly, of Carrowna- 
kelly, in the County of Galway, ancestor of Lord Dunsandle, a 
lawyer in great practice, and described by Lord Clarendon as 
** perfect L'ish of the old race, very bigoted and national. '^ He 
was made second Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. We are 
told that he continued to fill this office at the Revolution, and with 
such impartiality and integrity in those arduous times as added 
lustre to his judicial character. 

Peter Martyn, of Kilconnell, also in the County of Galway, 
ancestor of the Martyns of Tullyra, and a member of one of the 
families which composed the fourteen tribes of Galway, was ap- 
pointed third Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. He is said 
to have been of a remarkably humorous character, and in the last 
generation many amusing anecdotes concerning him were preserved. 
Seven of the Martyns were outlawed after the Revolution for having 
been adherents of King James. Amongst them was the Judge of 
whom we speak, whose property, the grand old Abbey of Kilconnell, 
with its precincts and possessions, was vested in the Crown. His 
Galway estates were purchased from the Commissioners of Forfeited 
Estates in 1703, by the Rev. John Trench, Dean of Raphoe, from 
whom the present Lord Ashtown is descended. 

Sir Henry Lynch, ancestor of Sir Robert Lynch Blosse, of 
Athavaillie, in the County of Mayo, said to have been a lawyer of 
great eminence, was appointed one of the Barons of the Exchequer 
in 1689. He was son of Sir Robert Lynch, also a lawyer in 
practice on the Connaught Circuit, and who, we omitted to state, 



was ''resident counsel of Connaught" during the great rebellion. 
Sir Henry resigned his seat on the bench in 1691, and accompanied 
James II. to France, where he died at Brest in the same year. 

There were at that time several other Connaught barristers of 
high distinction, who could not, of course, have been provided for 
at the moment with seats on the Bench. 

Indeed, it appears that the Bench was not at that time con- 
sidered a prize to men in the highest practice at the bar. Thus 
Lord Clarendon, when Lord Lieutenant, writing to the Earl of 
Sunderland, in reference to filling a vacancy on the Irish Bench, 
says, " There are Gerald Dillon (of Koscommon), Mr. Nagle, and 
Mr. Browne ; these three are Eoman Catholics. Mr. Nagle, I 
know, has no mind to be a judge, nor, I believe, will Mr. Dillon, 
he being in very great practice ; he is a very honest gentleman, and 
it is not fit for me to omit the best men."^ 

Dillon, who appears to have been satisfied with honours rather 
than emoluments, was appointed in 1685 Eecorder of Dublin, and 
Prime Serjeant. He was seised in fee of several estates in the 
Counties of Mayo and Koscommon, which he devised in 1690 to 
Theobald, his then only son in tail-male, with remainders over ; 
but he was himself attainted in 1691. Devoted to the throne of 
James II., Dillon and many Catholic barristers took commissions 
in the Irish army when the fortunes of their sovereign were in the 
scale ; and we find the Prime Serjeant colonel of one of these 
regiments raised in the cause of their fugitive king. Following 
King James to France, Dillon thenceforward resided in that 
country, where he died in a few years, honoured for his integrity, 
his learning, his eloquence, and his worth. ^ 

John Browne, ancestor of the Marquess of Sligo, second son of 
Sir John Browne, of the Neale, Bart., also a Catholic, was in high 
practice at the bar ; but his turn for promotion had not come when 
the last of the Stuarts ceased to reign in Ireland. He changed 
the long robe for the soldier's uniform ; became a colonel in the 
Irish army ; fought at the siege of Limerick ; and was, as we have 
said, associated with Sir Toby Butler and Colonel the Prime 

* Singer's " Correspondence," Vol. ii., p. 122. 

' Dalton's " King James's Army List," Vol. ii., pp. 249, 250* 



Serjeant Dillon in drafting the celebrated treaty to which Limerick 
gives its name. Dying in Dublin, in 1705, he was succeeded by 
his son, Peter Browne, who was married to a daughter of the Right 
Hon. Denis Daly, the above-mentioned Justice of the Court of 
Common Pleas. 

Peter Daly, of Quansborough, in the County of Galway (whose 
daughter, Margaret, was married to Thomas Bermingham, the 
twenty-second Lord Athenry), was also a Catholic barrister, and in 
high practice on the Connaught Circuit, where he was long remem- 
bered for his wisdom and eloquence, which won for him, strange to 
say, the sobriquet of '' Peter the Fool.'' In King James's distribu- 
tion of professional honours, he does not appear to have attained 
any distinction. 

Sir Theobald Butler, better known as Sir Toby Butler, was a 
native of the County of Clare, then on the Connaught Circuit. 
He was descended from a junior branch of the house of Or- 
mond, and was ancestor of the Butlers of Ballyline, now repre- 
sented by Augustus Fitzgerald Butler, j.p., d.l., in the County 
of Clare. The early days of this great lawyer were spent in 
the solitudes of Doon, on the confines of the Counties of Gal- 
way and Clare, and about a mile from the picturesque valley 
of Bunnahow. On the 9th of September, 1671, he entered the 
Inner Temple, and is there described as of Shanagollen, in the 
County of Clare. He was called to the Irish Bar in 1676, and 
soon rose into high practice at his profession. In 1678 he was 
counsel in the great Chancery Cause of O'Shaughnessy v. Lordl 
Clare. In 1680 he added to his family estate by the purchase ofj 
the lands of Carrowkeah. On the 25th of July, 1689, he was 
appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland, and was elected repre- 
sentative for the borough of Ennis in the Parliament which 
was held in Dublin in that year. Many anecdotes are told of 
Sir Toby, not alone of his power as an advocate, but of his great 
social qualities, which endeared him to all sorts and conditions of 
men. Judges and lawyers in those times, when wheel carriages; 
were almost unknown, were wont to ride from assize town to assize 
town on horseback. Mounted on a superb charger. Sir Toby was, 
followed by his clerk, Owen Gar, and his valet, Phelim Crena, also 
on horseback; the former carrying his briefs and Circuit library, and 



the latter his wardrobe, while at his own saddle-bow were several 
bottles of claret. He was wont to make easy stages round the 
Circuit, feeling quite at home at every house that chanced to stand 
on his line of march at sunset. His fame as a lawyer was wide- 
spread ; he was negligent in his dress, and was noted for his love of 
the juice of the grape which, strange to say, had not to the same 
extent an effect on him as on other men. Even after deep 
potations, his intellect remained comparatively unimpaired, and 
he could eloquently advocate the cause of his client after partaking 
of such a quantity of claret as would startle most barristers of our 
degenerate days. 

Numberless are the anecdotes still, after so many generations, 
told of him. As a speaker, he was, as we have said, almost power- 
less when unmellowed with wine, though not unfrequently the 
attorneys were apprehensive lest their clients' interests would be 
imperilled by the too deep draughts in which he was wont to in- 
dulge, especially when about to address the jury. The Superior 
Courts in those days were held in Christ Church Cathedral yard, 
Dublin, and were surrounded by narrow lanes, one of which was 
popularly called Hell — a profane and an unseemly sobriquet for 
a place adjoining a cathedral. Over the arched entrance there was 
an image of the devil in carved oak, not unlike those hideous black 
figures sometimes seen over tobacconists' doors. This locale of 
hell and the devil are alluded to by the poet Burns, in his story of 
'' Death and Doctor Hornbrook,'^ when he says : — 

" But this that I am gaim to tell. 
Which lately on a night befell, 
Is just as tnie's the deil's in hell 
Or Dublin city." 

Here were sundry taverns where the counsellor would cosher 
with the attorney. Here Malone, and Philip Tisdall, and, prior to 
them, our friend Sir Toby Butler, cracked their jokes and tossed 
repartee. "It is astonishing," says a writer in the Diiblin Pefiny 
Journal,^ "how those old fellows could do business coolly in the 
day who came to it under the effects of the over-night's hot debauch. 
Doubtless it did, to some extent, affect them, and there are extant 

lYol. i.,pp. 142-3. 


anecdotes of Sir Toby that show the shifts that^ at times, he ha 
recourse to. He was engaged in an important cause which re- 
quired all his knowledge and legal acumen to defend; and the 
attorney, fully alive to the importance of keeping Sir Toby cool, 
absolutely insisted on his taking his corporal oath that he should 
not drink anything until the case was decided. He made accordingly 
an affidavit to that effect, and kept it as follows : — The cause came 
on, the trial proceeded, the opposite counsel made a masterly, lu- 
minous, and apparently powerful impression on the jury ; Sir Toby 
got up, and he was cool, too cool — his courage was not up to the 
sticking point, his hands trembled, his tongue faltered, everything 
denoted feebleness — whereupon he sent to mine host in ' Hell ' for 
a bottle of port and a roll when, extracting a portion of the soft of 
the roll, and filling up the hollow with the liquor, he actually ate 
the bottle of wine, and recovering his wonted power and ingenuity, 
he overthrew the adversary's argument, and won the cause.^' 

Of all the jovial characters who frequented *^ Hell," none was 
longer remembered either for wit or for length of revelry than the 
humorous subject of our memoir. Pleading one day before a cer- 
tain judge of a very bad character, in one of the assize towns of his 
Circuit, the learned judge, in a half jocose way, remarked that Sir 
Toby's ruffles appeared rather soiled. " Oh, yes, my lord," said Sir 
Toby, in the blandest manner possible, *' but," showing his hands, 
" you perceive, my lord, that my hands are clean.'' The judge 
reddened, and became confused, amid the laughter which the cour- 
teous retort elicited in a crowded court. 

Trial of Sir Thomas Southwell and others for High ^i' 


At the Galway Assizes in March, 1688-89, Sir Toby, as Solici- 
tor-General, was engaged for the Crown in the case of The King v. 
Sir Thomas Southtvell, and one hundred others, for high treason. 
The Crown Judge was Peter Martyn, who, with somewhat question- 
able humour, was preceded on his way to the Courthouse by a piper 
instead of a trumpeter, which had been the custom with the judges 
on all occasions. Sir Thomas, the principal prisoner, was the repre- 
sentative of an ancient English race, which had removed to Ireland 
in the reign of James I. Their ancestor. Sir John De Southwell, was 



the faithful friend of Edward I., from whom he had a grant of the 
Castle of Bordeaux for life. His grandfather, who had been Sheriff 
of the Counties of Limerick, Kerry, and Clare, Avas created a 
baronet by Charles II. in 1661. The facts of the case against Sir 
Thomas were, as stated by the Solicitor-General to a jury of the 
County Galway, as follow : — Sir Thomas Southw^ell, of Callow, and 
Castlemattress, was a staunch supporter of William, Prince of 
Orange. On the surrender of Moyallow (Mallow) to the forces of 
King James, he, with his brother William, and two hundred 
others, determined for their common defence to make their way to 
Sligo, and join the partisans of the usurper. On their way there 
they encountered several small bodies of the supporters of King 
James, whom they defeated with little loss to themselves. But 
James Power, High Sheriff of the County of Galway, having heard 
on the previous day of their intended march, raised the Posse 
Comltatus of the county, and called upon Captain Thomas Burke 
to take the rebels prisoners. They were accordingly surrounded, 
and induced to surrender on the terms contained in the following 
treaty : — 

'^Articles agreed to between James Power, Esq., High Sheriff of the County of 
Galway, and Sir Thomas Southwell, Bart, and others. 

" Whereas James Power, Esq., High Sheriff of the county of Galway, 
and Captain Thomas Burke, Commander-in-chief of his Majestie's forces, 
quarter'd in the town of Loughrea, having intelligence that several gentle- 
men and others, on the 1st day of March instant, travelled the road leading 
from Irres in the county of Clare, towards the town of Loughreagh, being the 
road they intended to go, met them there, and demanded their horses and 
arms for his Majestie's use, which upon capitulations made between the said 
James Power, Esq., and Captain Thomas Burke of the one part, and Sir 
Thomas Southwell, Bart., Bartholomew Purdon, Esquire, and Thomas 
Miller, Esquire, on the other part, in behalf of themselves and of all as well 
gentlemen and others that were with them and of their company, were freely 
and peaceably delivered, and given up by them to us for his Majestie's ser- 
vice, on these following conditions, which we the said James Power, Esq., 
and Captain Thomas Burke, promised them in behalf of the Government 
should be honourably and punctually performed and kept. 

'' Imprimis, That they and every of them should have their lives pre- 
served, and that whatsoever they had acted in that affair (they affirming that 
their coming in that posture was for preservation of their lives) should be 
forgiven and forgotten, and passes given them or any of them to go where 
they pleased (provided they did not go to the North or Sligo), without being 



rifled or anything taken from them, except such horses and arms as were fit 
for his Majestie's service. 

" Secondly. That every gentleman of them should have their own pistols 
and swords, and one nagg or horse given them to ride on in case his own 
(being musterable) should be taken from him. 

" Thirdly. That if they desired it, they should have a party of horse or 
foot to protect them for their greater safety in travelling, where they or any 
of them had a desire to go, except to the North or Sligo, as aforesaid. 
Given under our hands and seals the first day of March, 1688, and in the 
third year of his Majestie's reign, James the Second, by the grace of God 
King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, &c. 

"Note. That it happened near night when they met, so that the agree- 
ment before mentioned could not be reduced into writing in the field, but 
several times since being tendered to the said High Sherifi" and Captain to 
sign, they still declined it, but nevertheless acknowledged the truth thereof, 
before Lord Galway, Father Dolphin the Friar, and others in Loughrea. 
And about eight or nine days after the said Captain Burke signed a certificate 
in presence of Captain Arthur Ffrench, and the said High Sheriflf writ a letter 
to the Lord Deputy, containing the principal parts of the said articles, as by 
the following copy may appear : — 

" Captain Burke's certificate deliver'd by Captain Robert Forster to Cap- 
tain Ffrench on Good Friday, 1688. 

"Whereas on the first day of this instant March, Sir Thomas Southwell, 
and a considerable party of horse, were travelling from the County of Clare 
through the County of Galway, near Loughreagh, an account whereof being 
brought to Captain Thomas Burke, whose troop, quartered at Loughreagh, 
and on notice immediately with his troop repaired to meet the said Sir 
Thomas Southwell and his party, and having drawn up within shot of 
each other the said Sir Thomas sent one to give an account of his and his 
friend's design to ride without ofience through the country, and prayed not 
to be molested : Whereuj^on the said Captain Thomas Burke made answer, 
that without the Government's pass so considerable a party should not ride 
where he had power to hinder them. Then the said Sir Thomas desired to 
be permitted to return whence he came. To which he was answered, that by 
late order from the Government Captain Burke was to seize all arms and 
horse fit for his Majesty's service in the county of Galway, and that he would 
not permit them to go on nor return till he had their horse and arms, and 
persisting firm therein, the said Sir Thomas and his party submitted, and de- 
clared their obedience to the Government's order ; he the said Captain 
Thomas Burke assuring them that he would secure them their lives, and oflfer'd 
them such small naggs as he thought fit to carry the said Sir Thomas and 
chief gentlemen back to their respective homes. This I, the said Captain 
Thomas Burke, having promised on my word, do now certifie for truth, as 
Witness my hand this 9th day of March, 1688-9. 



The following is a copy of the High Sheriff's letter delivered to 
Captain Jurdon, to be handed by him to the Lord Lieutenant :— 

LouGHREAGH, March 9th, 1688-9. 

May it please tour Excellency, 

It happened on Friday last, the first day of this instant, I had intelli- 
gence that a party of horse, with Sir Thomas Southwell and others, were 
making their way through this country to Sligo or the North, being routed 
out of Munster, whereupon the horse and foot in this town, being commanded 
by Captain Thomas Burke and Captain Charles Dawly, made ready to inter- 
cept the said Sir Thomas and his party, who met upon a pass and faced one 
another ; but a treaty being proposed they came to a capitulation, wherein it 
was agreed that the said Thomas and his party should lay down such horse 
and arms) as was fit for the king's service, and after so doing that they and 
every of their lives should be secured them, and dismissed with such passes 
and convoys as may bring them safe to their several habitations without any 
harm to their persons or goods. All which, with submission at their requests, 
I humbly ofier to your Excellency, and subscribe your Excellency's 

Most humble and 

Most obedient Servant, 

James Power. 

The Solicitor- General's speech occupied several hours, and on 
its conclusion the prisoners threw themselves on the mercy of the 
Court. But the learned judge had no discretion ; he was constrained 
to pass the sentence of the law upon them, which was, that they 
were to be hanged, drawn, and quartered ; but he assured them 
that they might nevertheless trust to the lenity of the King, who 
had then lately landed at Cork. After a fortnight's imprisonment, 
a respite was granted for a month, which was afterwards extended 
to three, and finally to six months, in consequence of their friends 
having promised to procure from the English Government the 
exchange of an equal number of Catholic L'ish prisoners, then 
undergoing imprisonment in England. Some of the prisoners 
of King William's party, however, not being satisfied to wait until 
the exchange could be effected, endeavoured to escape ; whereupon 
Sir Thomas Southwell received the following message from the 




Earl of Clanricarde, a firm supporter of the King, to whom he had 
sworn allegiance : — il 

"Gentlemen, — You could not be satisfied with his Majesty King 
James's mercy, which he has hitherto offered you in sparing your lives, but 
now, unmindful of his kindness, you hold correspondence with the Northern 
Williamites, and plot with them who are his Majesty's enemies, and the 
enemies of your country, to overthrow his Government in this kingdom, and 
to establish that of the usurper William ; therefore I am sent to ye to bid ye 
all prepare for instant death, which ye have now the second time justly 

When this very uncomfortable message was read to the 
prisoners, they were struck with terror, and humbly requested the 
Earl, by petition, to be allowed to prove their innocence to King 
James; but the answer they received was: "Longer time to repent 
I grant ye, but for sending any messages I will not permit." This 
reply, which they received on a Friday morning, caused them 
immediately to prepare for death, as they were informed they would 
be executed on the following Tuesday. About this time a Scotch 
nobleman, the Earl of Seaforth, one of the firmest supporters of the 
House of Stuart, having had an interview witli Sir Thomas South- 
well, felt deeply for his sufferings, and immediately brought the 
matter under the notice of the King, who at once issued a warrant 
to the Attorney-General, Sir Richard Nagle, to prepare a Fiat for 
the pardon of Sir Thomas and his companions in arms. " This 
the Attorney refused to obey, saying it was more than the King 
could do. The Earl returned to his master, and reported the 
Attorney's answer, who, being sent for, positively told the King 
that it was not in his Majesty's power to grant him a pardon. At 
which the King was overcome with grief and passion, and locked 
himself up in his closet. This stiffness of the Attorney was 
grounded on the Act of Attainder, passed in their Parliament, 
whereby the King was debarred from the prerogative of pardoning, 
and the subject foreclosed from all expectation of mercy. However, 
the Earl at length prevailed, and Captain Bozier was despatched to 
the Galwaygaol, who arrived there on the 2nd of January, 1689-90, 
with an order to release Sir Thomas Southwell, and with money to 
discharge his fees, defray his expenses, and enable him to travel, 
the'^King signing his pardon under the Great Seal, 1st of April, 



1690. The Earl of Seaforth then took him to Scotland." ^ Five- 
and-twenty years afterwards — it was in 1715, when the Earl joined 
in the rebellion in Scotland against the House of Brunswick — Sir 
Thomas Southwell, remembering former times, interfered in his 
behalf to obtain from the Government of the day the restoration of 
those enormous estates which he had then forfeited. 

A.D. 1690. — The story of the revolutionary wars of this year 
is well known ; it has been written by the most eloquent pens in 
our language, and it would appear to belong rather to the history 
of Ireland than to the history of the Connaught Circuit. We 
shall only say that after the Battle of Aughrim, which was fought 
on the 12th of July, 1691, General Ginkell marched the army of 
King William to Galvvay, before the gates of which town he 
arrived on the 19th of the same month. Consternation prevailed 
everywhere ; and though it was at first resolved to defend the town, 
still there was a large and influential party within its walls which, 
seeing the hopelessness of resistance, desired its surrender. Indeed, 
resistance must have been hopeless; for the garrison consisted of only 
about two thousand four hundred soldiers, indifferently armed and 
clothed. The spirit that leads to victory no longer animated the 
hearts of men who had heard the cannon of Athlone and Aughrim. 
The artillery on the walls were ill-mounted and old, while, on the 
other hand, Ginkell led to the siege upwards of fourteen thousand 
troops, flushed with triumph. A large and influential party then, 
amongst whom was Mr. Justice Daly (ancestor of Lord Dunsandle), 
desired to surrender, and, fearing that the party of resistance might 
nevertheless prolong the struggle, he devised the following plan. 
He despatched a messenger to General Ginkell, desiring that a 
party of soldiers might be sent to seize him, and seemingly force 
him from his habitation near the town, a circumstance which he 
conceived would lead to its more speedy surrender. For it seems 
that he possessed the confidence and esteem of all parties, and 
that he had concerted measures with a few of the inhabitants, con- 
ceiving that the apparently forcible seizure of his person would 
induce his friends to excite a party in the town who would insist 

^ Southwell MSS., vide Thorpe's Catalogue. *' Lodge's Peerage," Vol. iv., 
Ed. 1754, p. 234. 



on a surrender ; but in this he was disappointed, for the French 
party were still dominant, and they were for " no surrender." The 
town was put into a state of defence ;^ but nevertheless, on Sunday, 
the 21st of July, it capitulated on the terms of the free exercise of 
the Catholic religion in private, a free pardon for all within the 
walls, and liberty for them to enjoy their estates with all rights 
under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation, one of the sixteen 
articles of capitulation being that the Koman Catholic barristers of 
the town were to have free liberty of practice as in the days of 
Charles II. 

The great knowledge Mr. Justice Daly had of law is admitted 
by Colonel O'Kelly, in the Excidium Macarice, who states that the 
judge had been arrested and imprisoned in the town of Galway by 
the Duke of Berwick, on suspicion of keeping private correspondence 
with the common enemy ; but the Earl of Tyrconnell, disbelieving, 
no doubt, that a judge who had been raised to the Bench by 
James 11.* could be guilty of a traitorous correspondence, ordered 
him to be set at liberty, and restored to his former station and 
dignity. He was included in the attainder of 1691, but afterwards 
obtained his pardon from William III. 

A.D. 1691. — On the 3rd of October an entire cessation of 
hostilities, which in truth may be said to have been disastrous 
defeats for the Irish, were ended by the Treaty of Limerick, which 
had, as we have already stated, been drafted by Sir Toby Butler, as 
yet Solicitor-General, Sir Gerald Dillon, Prime Sergeant, and John 
Browne, of Westport, all lawyers practising on the Connaught 
Circuit. In the year following the execution of the treaty, and of 
the articles of Galway, all the Catholic judges were removed from 
the Bench, and Protestant lawyers were appointed in their place. 

Confiscations followed the Revolution, and many a Catholic 
family in the Province of Connaught lost their estates for fighting 
for their King, James II., against his parricidal daughter. There 
occurred a case in the County of Galway of this class not to be 


^ Story's " Wars of Ireland," Edition 1691, p. 159. Hardiman's History 
of Galway, p. 157. 

2 Mr. Justice Daly's appointment as Judge of the Common Pleas bears 
date 22nd March, 1689. 


forgotten — the case of Eileen Burke. Her father had been the 
owner of the Carrentrila estate, near Dunmore. It had escaped 
the Cromwellian forfeitures/ but Burke was now attainted : his 
daughter, Eileen, was a charming girl ; and she and her mother con- 
tinued to live in the mansion after the forfeiture and confiscation ; 
but he, who had been the owner, was afraid to do so, and only 
came there by stealth for his meals, obtaining nightly shelter in 
the cottages of his former tenants as best he could. The Govern- 
ment of William and Mary, who had secret intelligence of his 
midnight wanderings, sent a file of soldiers to watch his comings in 
and goings out ; and one day, early in 1693, they came upon him 
just as he was standing at the window of his former home. They 
rushed at the door, and broke it in. Eileen Burke, seeing that 
they had effected an entrance and arrested her father, seized on a 
brace of pistols, which she primed and loaded, and having done so, 
she warned them to let her father go. They refused to do so, 
whereupon she fired upon them, killing two. Thereupon both 
father and daughter were committed to the Galway gaol, and after- 
wards brought on a habeas corpus to Dublin, and there cast into 
prison to take their trial for wilful murder. The officer who com- 
manded the guard taking them to Dublin, fell in love with the 
girl, and went to London to see and influence their Majesties, 
William and Mary, on behalf of her and her father. The story 
was a romantic one, and father and daughter were taken, by royal 
command, in chains to London. The young lady was attired in 
the L'ish costume, which became her well. The Queen, taking a 
great fancy to her, procured the reversal of the attainder, and the 
property was restored to the father. She married the officer, 

' " It is a subject of curious and important speculation to look to the 
forfeiture of Ireland during the seventeenth century. The superficial 
contents of the island are calculated at 11,742,682 acres (that is, of arable 
land). Let us now examine the state of the forfeitures — 


Confiscated in the reign of James I. ... ... 2,836,837 

Confiscated by Cromwell ... ... ... 7,800,000 

Forfeited, 1688 ... ... ... ... 1,060,792 

11,697,629 i 
leaving 45,053 acres unconfiscated. " — Lord Clare's speech, 1799» 



Captain Lewis, who had interested himself for her, and by him 
had three daughters, ancestors of three well-known families now 
settled in the County of Galway. 

A.D. 1701. — There is little to notice on the Circuit in this year 
if we except the sudden death, on the 7th of April, at Ennis, where 
he was interred, of Sir John Hely, Chief Justice of the Common 
Pleas, he being one of the going judges of Assize. The hardships 
of riding the Circuit from Carrick-on-Shaunon to Ennis were too 
great for one of his advancing years, and he died as his work was 
done. Sir Richard Cox, second Justice, was thereupon appointed 
Chief Justice in his place. Of his wisdom the west country gentle- 
men had a high opinion, and it was therefore, perhaps, that he 
usually selected for his Circuit the Connaught, of which he was 
one of the going judges at the Spring Assizes of 1703. Crown 
Judge at Ballinrobe, when charging the Grand Jury, he had a sealed 
packet handed to him, which proved to contain a summons from 
Queen Anne requiring his presence at her palace at St. James's, 
Westminster, at his earliest convenience ; Prime Sergeant Saunders 
taking his place, concluded with the other judge the remainder of 
the Circuit, and Sir Eichard left with all speed for London, where 
he arrived within a fortnight. He was most graciously received by 
the Queen, and he had no hesitation in telling her Majesty his 
opinion that the Act destructive of the woollen trade in Ireland " was 
the most impolitic step ever taken by England, and that nothing 
could be more fraught with evil than the prohibition of the expor- 
tation of woollen fabrics from Ireland." The Queen having, we 
may presume, consulted him on the Penal Laws, then about to 
be enacted, presented him with a sum of £500 ; and on the 
6th of August in the same year, he was appointed Lord Chan- 
cellor of Ireland. That the opinions of the Chancellor were 
opposed to the Penal Laws is probable ; nevertheless he was 
borne down by the temper of Parliament; and in the month of 
March, 1704, was introduced into the Irish House of Commons 
**an Act to prevent the further growth of Popery." This 
measure sought to enact that the Court of Chancery could compel 
Catholic parents to make sufficient allowance to such of their 
children as should abjure their father's faith, that where the eldest 
Bon of a Catholic father became or was a Protestant, the father 


became thereby tenant for life only, and could not sell the estate of 
which hitherto he had the fee ; that no Catholic could be a guardian 
of children^ though born of Catholic parents ; that if one of the 
parents were a Protestant, the Lord Chancellor should be em- 
powered to have the children brought up in the communion of the 
Established Church ; that Catholics should not be permitted thence- 
forth to purchase lands ; that they were not to be suffered to take 
leases of more than thirty-one years ; that lands in the hands of 
Protestants should, to the exclusion of Catholics, descend to the 
Protestant next of kin ; that lands in the possession of Catholics 
should not descend to the eldest who had not conformed, but 
should gavel, or be divided, share and share alike, amongst 
all the children ; and that no person could be appointed to an 
office who had not received the sacrament according to the 
rites of the Established Church. And as the welfare of the Pro- 
testants depended much on the security of Limerick and Galway, 
and on their being in the possession of Protestants, it was enacted 
that no Papist shall, after the 24th of March, 1703, take or 
purchase any house or tenement in either of these places ; and that 
all persons then inhabiting Limerick or Galway should, before the 
24th of March, 1703, become bound in a reasonable penal sum to 
be faithful to the Queen and her successors, or else depart from 
those towns and their suburbs. Such are the principal enactments 
of the Second of Anne, chapter 6, then about to be enacted. The 
Catholics applied to be heard by counsel at the bar of the House 
of Commons against the bill, and on the 22nd of February, 1703-4, 
accordingly, Sir Toby Butler, Sir Stephen Rice, and that eminent 
lawyer Richard Malone, spoke against the measure at the bar ; but 
their arguments, however weighty, had no influence, and the next 
day the bill was ordered to be engrossed and sent up to the Lords. 
The petitioners having applied to the peers also for leave to be 
heard against the bill, their application was granted ; and the same 
counsel, on Monday, 28th of February, appeared there and offered 
the same arguments as they had made use of in the other House. 
But all opposition was fruitless ; the measure passed into law. But 
even in depths there are lower depths, and this measure of 1704 
was surpassed in infamy by the Eighth of Anne, chapter 3 (L-ish), 
passed in 1709. By this measure, when the child of a Catholic 



became a Protestant, it was at once to receive an annuity from its 
father. Barristers, attorneys, and all officers connected with 
the courts of law, were compelled to educate their children in the 
Protestant religion. If a Catholic wife became a Protestant, she 
thereby became entitled to receive a portion of her husband's 
chattels. Any Catholic public schoolmaster or private tutor that 
educated either Protestant or Catholic children, was to be prosecuted 
as a *' Popish regular convict ; " and £10 reward was offered to any 
informer who should give such information as would lead to the 
apprehension of any " Popish usher." Any two magistrates had 
power to summon any Catholic to appear before them, and question 
him as to where he had last heard Mass, the names of those who 
were present, and also of the priest, and where he resided. Should 
such Catholic refuse to give the necessary information, it was 
optional with the magistrate to impose a fine of i*20, or to imprison 
for twelve months. Any Protestant discoverer had power to file a 
bill in Chancery against any person whom he knew to be concerned 
in making leases, sales, or mortgages in trust for Pajnsts. Catholic 
merchants and traders were not allowed to have more than two 
apprentices. Thirty pounds per annum were granted to every 
priest who would become a Protestant. The Corporations passed 
by-laws to prevent Catholics from trading in towns. The Treaty of 
Galway was openly violated, in 1717, by an Act of Parliament 
intituled the ** Galway Act." Catholic freemen were disfranchised, 
and the rabble of every nation were invited to dwell in the town, 
provided only that they took the oaths against the Catholic faith. 

Of the Penal Laws enacted in the early years of the reign of 
Queen Anne, M. Montesquieu, in his " L'Esprit desLois," observes 
that " they were so rigorous, though not professedly of the san- 
guinary kind, that they did all the hurt that possibly could be done 
in cold blood.'' Of the bigotry of the judges we have now not the 
faintest conception. The mildest amongst them was one of whom 
we have had already occasion to speak — Sir Richard Cox — whose 
favourite Circuit was the Connaught, and even he thus, in his last 
charge to a Grand Jury, spoke : — 

" Gentlemen, ye ought to observe that this Popery, which is so dan- 
gerous and spiteful to you, is irreconcilable, for its pretended infallibility will 
not suffer Papists to reform any error, how gross soever, or make one step 


towards you, so that there can be no peace with Rome without following all 
her superstitions. 

' ' And as for the Pretender, we all know that he has many Popish ad- 
herents here, and powerful confederates elsewhere. We know that the Irish 
regiments in France are at his devotion, and we see what industry is used to 
recruit them, and send over more to his service. AVe know the consequence 
of his coming to the Crown would be the destruction of our most Gracious 
Queen (whom God long preserve), and the ruin of the Protestants. Our 
religion, lives, liberties, and estates would be a sacrifice to his bigotry and 
revenge, and this island would be, in all probability, the most miserable heap 
of desolat on in the world ; and therefore it is the duty of all Protestants in 
Ireland, of whatsoever denomination, to unite in afi'ection and in the proper 
measures to preserve the Government, the Established Church, and them- 
selves from the common enemy, and the reason is, because all is little enough 
to compass our safety, for the Papists in this kingdom are more than double 
the number of the Protestants, and thej'^ are supported by a Pretender, and 
all those that are in his interest, or their religion." 

The unforgotten wrongs inflicted by the Penal Laws crop up at 
every step one takes in the history of our Circuit during the last 
century. Under the sanction of that execrable code, in 1720 an 
unscrupulous man, one John Brennan, a Protestant discoverer, 
filed a bill against Sir Toby Butler, claiming the lands of Taggart, 
in the County of Dublin, of which the latter had obtained a long 
lease, and which, for the purpose of evading the Penal Laws, he had 
conveyed, in trust, to the celebrated lawyer Philip Tisdal. But 
neither of those astute men was a match for Mr. Brennan, who, on 
the 23rd of May, 1720, obtained from the Lord Chancellor of Ire- 
land (Lord Middleton) a decree putting him in possession of the 
lands in question. Sir Toby did not long survive this decree, which 
in the late evening of an active life took from him the earnings of 
many a wearied hour of intellectual toil. He died on the 11th of 
March following, and was buried in St. James' Churchj-ard, Dublin, 
where a monument of no great pretensions marks his resting-place. 
His picture, as he stood at the bar of the House of Commons advo- 
cating the Catholic cause in February, 1704, in opposition to the 
Act " to prevent the further growth of Popery," is in the possession 
of his descendant, Augustine FitzGerald Butler, of Ballyline, Esq., 
in the County Clare. 

A curious case of wilful murder occurred at Tuam, in the early 
years of the last century — that of the Yery Bev. Henry Echlin, 



Protestant Dean of the diocese. He lived it appears on the Mall 
in that cathedral town, and was, it is said, extremely unpopular^J 
owing to his enforcing the tithes which were withheld from him 
dm'ing the reign of James II. On the morning of Good Friday, 
1712, he was found murdered in his dining-room, his money, 
plate, &c., all heing abstracted. The agonizing cries of his servants 
disarmed suspicion, and the coroner's jury brought in a verdict, 
after inquisition made, of wilful murder by parties unknown. For 
several days after the inquest, the Dean's dog was observed crying 
and scraping up the earth in a secluded nook in the garden. 
Several feet below the surface was found the heavy plate chest, 
belonging to the murdered man, locked with his padlock. The lock 
was broken open, and the money and plate all recovered. The coach- 
man was arrested, and in his pocket was found the key of the chest.^ 
Denial was useless. He was committed for trial, found guilty ori 
his own confession, and hanged. The following inscription in the 
Protestant Cathedral of Tuam tells of his barbarous murder:— j 





HE Penal Laws passed in tlie early years of the reign of 
Queen Anne practically excluded all sincere Catholics 
from the bar. The universities and halls of learning 
were now, as we observed, closed against them ; the 
Inns of Court, indeed, they could enter ; but an oath 
they could not conscientiously take precluded their being 
called to the bar. There were Catholics who took the oaths, 
which in secret they scorned ; but then such of those men as joined 
the profession of the law were not likely to do honour to their Cir- 
cuit. Great numbers emigrated to the Continent, where they found 
what they could not find at home — the gates of promotion open. 
Amongst the converts to the Protestant faith who practised on 
the Connaught Circuit, there are few now remembered, except by 
those who, like the writer, must examine the ancient pleadings to 
which their names are attached. 

But these converts were much dreaded by Primate Boulter, to 
whom the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, had confided the 
entire government of the country. The primate, doubting their 
sincerity, felt an intense anxiety to exclude from the bar, not only 
Catholics, but converts from Catholicity. " We must be all undone 
here," he writes, " if the bar, as a profession, gets into the hands 
of the converts, where it is already got, and where it every day gets 
more and more."^ A convert, the most reverend prelate thought, 
should test his sincerity by five years' perseverance in Protestantism 
before he could be admitted a barrister. 

On this Circuit there were many lawyers in extensive practice. 
Thus the Caulfields, of Donamon, in the County of Roscommon, 
both father and son, the former renowned as an equity pleader, and 

» " Boulter's Letters," Vol. ii. 



remarkable for his Whig principles ; he was raised to the Bench in 
1718, and resigned in 1734, with a pension of ^400 a-year, on 
obtaining for his son, St. George Caulfield, the appointment of 
Counsel to the Commissioners of his Majesty's Revenue. 

Father and son were renowned for their learning in the law and 
unbending rectitude. William, a Justice of the King's Bench, was 
borne down by a majority, by Chief Justice Whitshed and his 
brother Boate, in a court where the purity of the ermine was 
stained by such outrages on the forms of justice as provoked the 
unsparing language used by the merciless pen of Dean Swift. The 
Attorney-General, however, did not attempt to file a criminal 
information against the very reverend writer. St. George Caul- 
field, who had been appointed Chief Justice of the King's Bench 
in 1751j resigned in 1760, the king's letter reciting that license 
had been granted to him to resign on account of his age and 
infirmities, and that his Majesty had allow'ed him a pension of 
iBljOOO per annum for life. Parsimonious in the extreme, he 
was prevented by his niggardly propensities from extending to 
his neighbours that hospitality which they might well have 
expected from a man of his fortune and position. The Protestant 
clergyman of his parish had some of the wdt which was much 
affected by men of his cloth, since the Dean had made wit 
fashionable, and during his incumbency he had never, previous 
to the date of our story, been invited to dinner by the Chief 
Justice, who enjoyed witticisms, even at his own expense, im- 
mensely. It so happened that a personage of importance, con- 
nected with the government, was passing in the neighbourhood 
of his place, and his lordship could not avoid inviting him to remain 
at Donamon for some days. The official did remain accordingly, 
and the neighbouring gentlemen were of necessity invited to meet 
him. Amongst them was the parson of whom we have spoken, 
upon whom the duty devolved to give grace when dinner was over, 
which he did in these witty and impertinent words : — 

*' We thank the Lord, for this is nothing less 
Than the fall of manna in the wilderness ; 
In the house of famine we have found rehef, 
And known the comforts of a round of beef ; 
Chimneys have smoked that never smoked before, 
And we have dined where we shall dine no more. " 


The Chief Justice enjoyed, it is pretended, the joke, and on a 
long subsequent day he asked his reverence to partake of a frugal 
fare^-a foreshadowing of which might have suggested to the 
Koman poet the 

" Sit mihi mensa tripes, 
Conchaque salis." 

The parson again was at his post ; the covers were taken off ; 
enough and no more appeared on the table for the guests ; and the 
reverend divine thus, with uplifted eyes, outstretched hands, and 
much emphasis, proceeded to bless the meats : — 

" May He who blessed the loaves and fishes 
Look down upon those empty dishes ; 
For if they do our stomachs fill, 
'Twill surely be a miracle." 

We apprehend that this was the last time that that parson was 
ever seated at the Chief Justice's table. History is silent on the 

The family of the Stauntons gave several members to the 
Connaught bar in the last century. George Staunton, who, in 
the reign of Charles I., had acquired extensive estates on the 
eastern shores of Lough Corrib, had two sons, Thomas Staunton, of 
Waterdale, and George Staunton, of Cargins, near Headford. The 
elder of these, Thomas, of Waterdale, had two sons, John Staunton, 
one of the most eloquent men at the bar, m.p., and Recorder of 
Galway, a.d. 1706 (whose son John, a.b., t.c.d., 1727, was also a 
barrister, and held a good position on the Circuit), and Thomas, 
the younger, m.p., Second Sergeant, 1712, and Master in Chancery 
from 1725 until his death in 1731, and who in 1728 had been re- 
warded with an honorary degree of ll.d. by Trinity College, Dublin. 
George Staunton, of Cargins, had two sons, viz., James, barrister- 
at-law, long a leader on the Circuit, and George, grandfather of 
Sir George L. Staunton, xUtorney-General for the Island of Grenada, 
and afterwards, in 1792, secretary of Lord Macartney's embassy to 

Thomas St. Leger (afterwards one of the Barons of the Exche- 
quer), Arthur Ormsby, and Robert Shaw, belonged to this Circuit ; 
so did Henry Lynch and Oliver Burke, both arbitrators in the 



celebrated case of Henry Blake and Richard Martin, when the 
former claimed and exercised an exclusive right of fishing in the 
lower waters of the Dowris river, in the County of Galway, and in 
the tidal waters of the estuary at its mouth.'' 

This Oliver Burke was a most amusing man. The following 
case, which was sent to him for his opinion, may convey some idea 
of his drollery : — 

*' Case for opinion and advice of Counsel : Samuel Symcocks, our client, 
called at a relative's house, in the Main Guard Street, Galway, and, uninvited, 
sat adown for to eat his dinner ; thereupon the man of the house (de- 
fendant, Marcus Fitz John Linch) ordered him out, whereupon his wyfe, 
Mary Linch, otherwise Caddell, rushed up stairs, and as querist was going 
out, flung on top of him a pot full of water : — Quere, Can damages be re- 
covered in an action against Linch for act done by his wyfe ? Counsel will 
please advise generally. 

" Answer : if plaintiff went to defendant's house unasked, he could expect 
nothing better than pot-luck. No action. " 

There were other lawyers on the Circuit, and in considerable 
business about this time (1727). There were Edward Eyre, and 
Dominick Burke, m.p., and John Bodkin, of Carrowbeg. 

The reports that have come down to our time of the trials at 
this period on the Connaught Circuit are very few. The greater 
part of the newspapers of that day were almost valueless ; and 
neither the Dublin Intelligencer, started in 1705, nor the County 
Intelligencer y started in 1G90, makes a passing allusion to the 
assizes. But Pue's Occurrences, as well as the Dublin Gazette, 
and Falkener's Journal, do give some sensational cases, according 
as such might have occurred on any of the circuits, which were 
then five in number. 

The difficulty of transmitting reports from the assize towns 
may have been one of the chief causes of the scantiness of such 
intelligence. Postboys on horseback, one from Sligo and the 
other from Galway, conveyed the entire correspondence of the 
province of Connaught to Dublin. Arriving there on Saturday 
night, they took their departure westward every Monday morning. 

^ Acheson's Estate^ 3 Ir. Reports, Equity, p. 107, where the arbitration of 
those lawyers is noticed. 



Nor were their journeys entirely free from danger, as appears by 
the following announcement in the Dublin Mercury of the 19th 
March, 1706 :— 

" On Thursday last, about half -past eleven o'clock at night, three rogues 
set upon the Connauglit postboy as he was coming near Maynooth. One of 
them, being on horseback, rid a small way with him, but on a sudden took 
the boy's horse by the reins, and then knocked him off his horse, and the 
two others, who were both on foot, came over the hedge and opened the 
mail, and several letters were thrown about. We hear they used the poor 
boy very badly, leaving him for dead, having taken about eighteen shillings 
in money from him, that he was bringing to to^vn, and then made off." 

The following advertisement, quaint and amusing, will convey 
to the mind an idea of the difficulty of correspondence 180 years 
ago in the County Galway, and will also give an idea of the dread 
in which attorneys were held in those days by the County Galway 
gentry :— 

"TO BE LET from the first of November, 1708, a house and demayne 
situate nigh to the town of Headford, County of Galway. The post- 
boy, a civil man, comes in and goes out every second Monday. There 
is a rookery on the premises, good sportinge, and not an attorney within 
twelve miles." 

A.D. 1715. — In pursuance of the provisions of the Act lately 
passed to prevent the farther growth of Popery, the Lords Justices 
instructed the judges on the Connauglit Circuit to labour to their 
utmost for the extirpation of the Catholic faith. Accordingly, the 
Grand Jury of the County of Galway, at the assizes held on the 
29th of March, 1715, informed the judges, in answer to questions 
put to them at the Summer Assizes of 1713, Summer Assizes, 
1714, and the Lent Assizes, 1715, that the friars were return- 
ing to the neighbourhood of their old abbeys in .great numbers ; 
that unregistered priests were actually discovered reading Mass ; 
that great numbers of the Catholic gentry had sent their 
sons abroad to receive foreign education ; " that Ulick Burke, 
son to the Earl of Clanricarde, was missing, he having been sent 
to France; that John Burke, of Ower, was also a-missing; that 
he went out of this kingdom a year ago, and, we are informed, 
is in France ; so also is Hyacinth Nugent, son to Thomas Nugent, 



commonly called Lord Riverstoii, and many others.^' ^ The John 
Burke here spoken of was a captain in General Dillon's regiment 
in France.^ 

A.D. 1719. — In this year a case occurred in the Court o 
Exchequer which brings before the world Mr. Baron St. Leger, of 
whom we have already spoken, who had for several years practised 
on the Connaught Circuit, but who had not, as a barrister, risen to 
any great eminence. He was, however, in 1714, made Third Baro 
of the Exchequer, and in 1719 was, with Chief Baron Gilbert and 
John Paklington, the Second Baron, committed into custody by 
the Irish House of Lords, for his conduct in the memorable case of 
Sherlock v. Annesley. The facts of the case, so far as they interest 
us, are these : — 

In 1719 Hester Sherlock brought in the Court of Exchequer aif 
action of ejectment on the title against John Annesley for certain 
lands situate in the County of Kildare. A verdict was had, and 
judgment was entered for the defendant. The plaintiff appealed to 
the Irish House of Lords, which reversed the decision of the Court 
below, and judgment was then entered for the plaintiff. Th 
defendant's counsel advised an appeal to the House of Lords in 
England. The defendant did appeal, and the Court of Appeal 
reversed the decision of the Irish House of Lords, and established 
the judgment of the Court of Exchequer. The Irish House of 
Lords, disregarding the judgment in England, at once issued a 
writ of habere to Alexander Burroughs, High Sheriff of the County 
of Kildare, to put the plaintiff, Mrs. Sherlock, in possession of the 
lands, and the sheriff obeyed the writ. The defendant, by his 
counsel, now applied to the Court of Exchequer, and they, sup- 
porting their own judgment, caused a counter writ to issue, com- 
manding the sheriff to make restitution of the premises to the 
defendant ; and further, they imposed an enormous fine upon him 
for presuming to obey a writ of the Irish House of Lords, 
while a Court of higher jurisdiction, the peers of England, had 
confirmed the adverse decision of the Court of Exchequer. Of 
the bewildered sheriff we know nothing further than that he 

* Record Tower, Dublin Castle, Presentments, &c. Carton 62. No. 558. 

* Vide Dalton, King James's Army List, 2nd Edition. 


absconded^ and was heard of no more in the transaction. On the 
29th of July, 1719, it was resolved by the Irish House of Lords, 
the Lord Chancellor dissenting, that the Chief Baron and Barons 
''have acted contrary to law and the established practice of the 
King's Courts ; and it is further resolved, that Jeffry Gilbert, Esq., 
Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, John Paklington, 
Esq., and Sir John St. Leger, Barons of the same, are the betrayers 
of the rights and liberties of the subjects of this kingdom." Where- 
upon it was ordered that the Chief Baron and others, the Barons of 
the Exchequer, be taken into custody of the Usher of the Black 
Kod.^ This case caused the greatest excitement in both countries 
at the time ; and the excitement was increased by the passing of 
an Act of Parliament in England, entirely abolishing the appellate 
jurisdiction of the Irish House of Lords. 

How long Baron St. Leger and his brethren remained in custody 
we know not ; but the next time we hear of him is when he went 
the Connaught Circuit as Judge of Assize in the summer of 1730. 
A Catholic, named Lynch, was indicted on this occasion for carry- 
ing arms in the streets of Galway. He admitted that he was a 
Catholic, and had carried arms, and he claimed the right to do so 
again. His counsel, Thomas Staunton, relied upon the Disarming 
Act, passed immediately after the Revolution, and maintained 
that it only applied to persons who were alive at the time when 
that Act was passed. Undoubtedly Mr. Lynch had not then been 
born. The case was one of great importance, inasmuch as all the 
Catholics in the kingdom could, should the Crown be unsuccessful, 
carry swords in the streets, as it was customary for Protestants to 
do ; and further, it would place arms in the hands of the Catholic 
peasantry. The learned baron, taking Mr. Staunton's view of the 
case, directed an acquittal. The Catholics of Dublin, when the 
verdict became known, appeared in the streets with their swords. 

A.D. 1724. — " Several friars, four in number, were arrested by 
order of the Mayor of Galway, and tried at the Galway Summer 
Assizes of this year, for publicly celebrating Mass, and acquitted. 
They were defended by a right good counsellor, James Staunton."^ 

* From Lords' Journals, Yol. ii., p. 626, 627. 
' " Pue's Occurrences." 




A.D. 1731. — Baron St. Leger again went the Connaught Cir- 
cuit in the spring of this j^ear, when the duty devolved upon him 
of trying at Sligo the case of the King v. Ormshy, for the murder 
of a young girl named Catherine Conaghan. This case was one in 
which every feeling of the heart was awakened by the circumstances 
with which it was surrounded. William Ormshy was a young man, 
the son of a gentleman of position and fortune in the County of 
Sligo. He had hardly reached his twenty-first year when he was 
captivated by the beauty of this young girl, who moved as happily 
in the lower walks of life as he did in the higher. Their paths 
were different, and well would it have been for her if they had 
never met. He saw and loved her, and — the old, old story — he 
sought to make her his own. She measured more truly than he 
did the wide gulf that lay between them. She saw that that gulf 
could never be passed without plunging him into ruin ; she rejected 
his suit accordingly; but he persevered, and at last he, a Protestant, 
was privately married according to the rites of the Church of Rome. 
A child was born in 1726. He still loved her, but scorned to 
acknowledge the daughter of a peasant as his wife. Leaving the 
county for a short time, he soon found himself in a whirl of gaiety 
at Dublin Castle, sought after by many who would gladly bestow 
wealth and power upon him ; but there were rumours afloat, and it 
was whispered amongst his own circle, that he had a wife, and that 
while she lived no woman could imperil her position by marrying a 
man whose marriage would one day form the subject of judicial 
investigation. Ormshy soon resolved to break the marriage ; but 
before he took any steps in that direction, she was found murdered 
in the Abbey of Sligo. It was said that, in the agonies of despair, 
she had flung herself from the summit of the tower, and ended her 
love and her life together. But the mangled corpse presented all 
the appearance of a dreadful struggle ; and a coroner's jury brought 
in a verdict of wilful murder against William Ormshy. He ab- 
sconded, and for three years evaded the vigilance of the law. At 
last he was arrested, and on the 27th of March, 1731, true bills 
were found against him by the Grand Jury of his county, and he 
was put upon his trial before Baron Sir John St. Leger. Sir 
Kobert Jocelyn, the Attorney-General, conducted the prosecution, 
and the prisoner was defended by Mr. Staunton. ** The trial 


commenced at ten o'clock^ and lasted until four in the afternoon, 
when the jury received their charge and went in, where they con- 
tinued till nine o^clock the next morning, and then brought in a 
verdict of not guilty/'^ 

Thus ended this case in which so many features of romance are 
found. The grave offences which the lower classes of the Province 
of Connaught were charged with in the last century, at the several 
assizes, were abduction and murder, and both were of frequent 
recurrence. The first, indeed, was so prevalent that any lady bent 
on celibacy had better fly from the province, and particularly so, if 
she had obtained the reputation of being opulent. Girls having 
property, or likely to possess it, were oftentimes forcibly carried off. 
Secreted in the mountains, they were not easily recoverable by 
their friends ; and left at the mercy of the ruffian and his con- 
federates, they were at last, in many cases, obliged to become the 
legal property of the despoiler. As the abductor was generally 
some idle, dissipated blackguard, the fate of the ill-starred being 
who was united to him under such circumstances for life, was truly 

One of those runaways occurred in 1731, in the County of 
Leitrim. The facts, as disclosed on the trial, are reported " in Pue's 
Occurrences," ^ and the name of the case was The Kin(/, at the 
relation of Walter Tubman, v. Edmund Kernan. 

In the County of Leitrim, and on the borders of the County of 
Cavan, there lived a young man named Edmund Kernan, ardently 
attached to the faith of his fathers, but more ardently, it was pro- 
fanely whispered, to a young lady of fortune, who lived close to the 
Castle of Dromahaire, who was a member of an ultra Protestant 
family. Her father bore the uneuphonious name of Walter 
Tubman ; and he saw clearly in his readings of the Holy Scriptures, 
that the faith he belonged to was an undoubted truth, while the 
faiths of all those that differed from him were undoubted false- 
hoods ; and therefore it was that he loathed the idea of his only 
child giving her hand in marriage to one who knelt before the 
shrine of Baal. The young man did not perhaps agree in the 
reasonings about Baal and his shrine — one thing he was resolved 


^ " Pue's Occurrences." ' Informations, Dublin Castle MSS. 



on was to carry off the only daughter of the house of Tuhman ; so 
on Friday, the 12th of Novemher, 1731, he mounted his horse, 
and in company of a troop of his horsemen, he rode to Tubman's 
house, dismounted; and went in to pay a morning visit. Anna 
Tubman asked him would he stop and have dinner with them that 
day, that their dinner was to be of flesh meat. Kernan's only 
answer was to throw his arms around her waist, carry her struggling 
from her father's presence, and in an incredibly short time was off 
with his prize, surrounded by his horsemen all armed to the teeth. 
A priest was soon found, and the abduction completed. The young 
lady was closely watched, and to escape from her guards for three 
months was an impossibility ; but at last she did escape in the 
darkness of a winter's night, when her captors were off the watch, 
stole back to her father's house, and swore informations before a 
neighbouring Justice of the Peace. Her lover was arrested, and 
tried at the Summer Assizes for the County of Leitrim ; but the 
jury disagreed — on what ground it is difficult to state. He was 
again tried at the Spring Assizes of 1733, in the Court-house of 
Carrick-on-Shannon, and with the like result ; and we may pre- 
sume that the jury were inclined to the opinion that she was a 
consenting party, inasmuch as when the young man had entered 
the house, she asked him to stop and dine, and joked about a meat 
dinner on a Friday. 

A.D. 1735. — In the summer of this year, Robert Martin, *of 
Ballinahinch, was charged with having murdered, in Galway, 
Lieutenant Henry Jolly, who, quartered at the time in the town, was 
spending the evening with some brother officers at a house in the 
mainguard. Inadvertently, it was said, he spat out of the window, 
and upon the head of Robert Martin, who, in a paroxysm of fury, 
rushed upstairs, drew his sword, and wheeling it over the unfor- 
tunate young man, ran him through the body, killing him on the 
spot. For this he was committed to prison, and the Attorney- 
General (Sir Robert Jocelyn) obtained an order from the Court of 
King's Bench to change the venue from Galway to Dublin. The 
following is an extract from the only copy of this curious trial sup- 
posed to be extant. Owing to the great influence of the accused, 
the trial took place at the bar, that is, before the full Court of the 
King's Bench, on the 2nd of May. 


" The Court being sat, and the following jury sworn, viz., 
Michael Burke, Henry Burke, John Burke, Thomas French, Boss 
Mahon, William Boylan, John Halliday, John Broughton, Walter 
Lambert, David Poer, George Davis [one omitted]. The first wit- 
ness for the Crown was Lieutenant George Bell. — Was not present 
at the time of the quarrel between the prisoner and the deceased, but 
very soon after deceased's death saw him lying on the ground in a 
gore of blood, and his body with several fresh bleeding w^ounds, 
three of which were on his right side close upon his breast, and 
one of them pierced out of his back, quite through and through his 
body. Deceased had also two wounds more on his left side, which 
penetrated the very cavity of his body. Having been asked by the 
Court had the deceased any other wounds, he said a few on his left 
hand and arm, but they -would not prove mortal. He felt to know 
if deceased had any pulse, and found none. This testimony he 
gave at the Coroner's Inquest on the deceased's body at Galway. 
The Court and the prisoner asked this witness very few questions, 
his testimony being only grounded on the description of the de- 
ceased's wounds. 

'' Captain Edward Southwell, sworn — Mr. Jolly and witness 
w^ere diverting themselves in a billiard-room at a coffee-house in 
Galway. The prisoner Martin furiously came up into the room, 
drew his sword, and instantly demanded satisfaction of the rascal 
who spit upon him as he was passing by. Witness answered it was 
he that did it, but through no affrontful design, and in the most 
humble manner asked his pardon. Such humility little availed, 
for Mr. Martin insisted upon further satisfaction, and being in a 
very great passion, witness said, * Let me go to my barrack for a 
sword — I will very speedily return, and comply with your request ; ' 
there being no sword between either Mr. Southwell or the deceased, 
Mr. Jolly. 

" Prisoner asked witness was the first attack by the deceased 
with any instrument not a sword, at the billiard-table, before the 
prisoner drew his sword ? Answer — No. 

" The next evidence w^as Eobert Watson, the coffee-boy, who 
swore that there were four yards' distance at the billiard-table be- 
tween Mr. Martin and Mr. Jolly ; the latter standing by the window, 
and Mr. Martin at the door with his sword drawn, and approached 


Mr. Jolly. That Mr. Jolly took up a chair to defend himself, 
through the frame of which the prisoner made several thrusts at the 

" The evidence on behalf of the prisoner were Julian Mathews, 
Nicholas Bates, [ ] Donnolly, and others who, to their know- 
ledge, gave their several testimonies in favour of the prisoner. 
Donnolly's testimony appeared very much in his favour, and of 
great moment to the jury. The Court then summed up the evi- 
dence, and charged the jury, who, after some stay, brought in the 
verdict NOT GUILTY."' 

This report was evidently a hasty and imperfect publication, 
issued immediately after the trial, to gratify public curiosity, and 
cannot, therefore, be much depended upon. The panel was from 
the venue of the offence. Lieutenant Jolly was interred in St. 
Nicholas' Church, Galway, where the following inscription may be 
seen on a small mural monument :— *' Near this place lies the body 
of Henry Jolly, Lieutenant of Grenadiers in the Hon. General 
James Dormer's Regiment of Foot." 

The numbers convicted of murder in those years were not much 
greater than in later times. Not an assizes passed without some 
criminal being found guilty and executed. Li the Dublin Gazette 
of the 24th of March, 1740, it is announced that the murderer of 
Mr. Anthony Kirwan was to be executed at Galway, and that the 
two who murdered Mr. Trench's steward were to be hanged at the 
same time. This startling intelligence might lead us to suppose 
that life and property were then in Ireland less secure than in 
England ; but it appears from the same paper that fourteen were 
found guilty, and nine were to be hanged at the Spring x^ssizes of 
the County of Essex in the same year. 

The winter of 1740 was one of long and continued frost, which 
had set in before the potato crop had been raised ; the consequence 
was, that when the thaw had set in, in February, 1741, the potatoes 
all over Ireland were rotten in the ground. A famine followed, 
succeeded by a pestilence and by ruthless evictions, which had been 
witnessed by Oliver Goldsmith, then in his fifteenth year, and which 
have been immortalized by his pen in the " Deserted Village." 

» " O'Flalierty's lar-Connauglit," p. 295. " Pue's Occurrences." 


Mr. Justice Kose and Eaton Stannard, the Prime Sergeant, pre- 
sided on the Circuit at the Summer Assizes ; but so great was the 
terror of the typhus fever, which swept multitudes away, that the 
courts were unattended by grand jurors or jurors. On the 24th of 
July the judges arrived in Galway. Mr. Justice Rose opened the 
Commission, and at once adjourned to the more healthy town of 
Tuam, there to be held on the 5th of the following month of October. 
The G-alway races were also postponed, as appears by the following 
advertisement : — 

'* Take notice, that the town of Galway having the fever, the gentlemen 
of the connty think proper to remove the races that were to be run for at the 
Park Course, near the said town of Galway, to the Turlough at Gurawnes, near 
Tuam, on Monday, the 14th of September, next." ' 

The 14th of September came round, and many attended the 
course. Many came from afar to the races; and amongst them 
there was one Marcus Lynch, an opulent merchant in Galway, who 
had accepted the hospitalities of his friend Oliver Bodkin, of Carrow- 
bawn, near Tuam. On the morrow he was to return, as he pur- 
posed, to Galway. " Oh, never shall sun that morrow see ! ^' 

On Monday, the 5th of October, 1741, Mr. Justice Rose and 
Prime Sergeant Stanner arrived in Tuam, there to hold the ad- 
journed assizes. Since the adjournment a dreadful crime, or rather 
series of crimes, had been committed in the county — the wholesale 
murder of the Bodkins — of Oliver Bodkin, his wife, his son, his 
man-servant, and his maid- servant, and the stranger that was 
within his gates. For this crime the Grand Jury found true bills 
against John FitzOliver Bodkin, a young man, unmarried, who had 
not yet completed his twenty-first year, son of the murdered man ; 
against Dominick Bodkin, known as Blind Dominick, brother of 
the murdered man, who was old, childless, and also unmarried. 
Thus, it appears, that there was left no issue of the murderers, 
on whom the divine vengeance might descend from father to son 
to the third and the fourth generations. Neither was there left 
any living descendant of the murdered man. Not a descendant of 
the murderers, nor of the murdered, is now living on earth. 

Within three or four miles of the town of Tuam, and on the 

^ "Pue's Occurrences," 5th Sept., 1741. 


Headford road, were the mansions of Carrowbawn, the property of 
Oliver Bodkin, and Carrowbeg, the property of his brother, John 
Bodkin, a lawyer of great eminence on the Circuit, especially in 
the Criminal Courts. Few families in Ireland can trace back 
through so many generations as the Bodkins. They spring from 
a common ancestor of the Earls of Desmond and Kildare. The 
name was FitzGerald until the fourteenth century ; when, having 
overcome their foe in a duel with a " Bandikin," or dagger, they 
began to be distinguished by that name, whereby they are known 
even to this hour, though they still preserve the war-cry of the 
FitzGeralds — " Crom-a-boo," as their motto. 

Oliver Bodkin, of Carrowbawn, was married about 1720, and the 
only child of that marriage was John, called, after the fashion of the 
day, John FitzOliver. The idol of his parents, every wish of the 
poor child was gratified, every word he spoke treasured up and told, 
as if no child in the world ever spoke so before ; and thus it was 
that the first ten or twelve years of his life were spent. About 1780 
his mother died, and his father, in 1732, married a second time, 
and in 1733 became the father of a child, christened Oliver Fitz- 
Oliver. The infant, according to the custom of the country, was 
Bent out to be nursed, and the name of the nurse was Hogan, the 
wife of John Hogan, one of the tenants. This —the habit of a 
mother sending her child to be nursed by another woman, and in 
another house, was the custom in the last and in the first half 
of the present century,— the nurse taking the place of the 
mother; she nursed her own child also, who was called the 
foster-brother or foster-sister of the gentleman's child, while 
the nurse's husband was called his foster-father. This system of 
fosterage became and was a recognised institution, so to speak, 
in the country, and the ties of afi'ection and quasi relationship 
that bound the foster-children to each other lasted through life. 
In this way it was that the first three or four years of Oliver Fitz- 
Oliver Bodkin were spent. Returning to his father's house when 
his juvenile complaints were over, the child became the idol of his 
father ; and as the affection for his second son increased, so did that 
for his eldest son diminish. Carrowbawn became insupportable to 
the young man, and he left it about 1737, and went to reside at 
Carrowbeg, close by, nominally the residence of the Counsellor, 



though he resided but a few weeks there throughout the year, his 
business confining him more or less to the city of Dublin ; but his 
two sons spent summer after summer there. Their names were 
Patrick FitzCounsellor, the eldest, who was married and had chil- 
dren, and John FitzCounsellor, who was unmarried. And the 
neighbourhood was startled in 1738, when on a morning the 
sudden death of Patrick was announced. Living from year's 
end to year's end at Carrowbeg was the counsellor's brother 
Dominick, old and unmarried — a shocking-looking man, deeply 
pitted with smallpox ; he was blind of one eye, and thus 
acquired the sobriquet of " Blind Dominick." Infamous in 
conduct, and desperate in character, such was the companion 
of John Bodkin FitzOliver in 1740, he being then in his twen- 
tieth year. Oliver Bodkin, his father, had made, it was said, 
his will, disinheriting him, and devising every acre he had to his 
son by his second marriage. The young man's mind was fast 
losing its balance ; he became desperate, and, come what will, 
he was resolved that his birthright no man should take from 
him. Blind Dominick, sympathizing with him, found another 
sympathizer, and that was John Hogan, the foster-father of little 
Oliver FitzOliver. Between them they agreed to murder Oliver of 
Carrowbawn, his wife and child ; and associated with them was one 
Koger Kelly, — four in all. They dined together on Friday, the 18th 
of September, when they discussed their plans, and finally came to 
the conclusion that steel was to be preferred to fire-arms. On the 
following night the assassins, with the exception of Roger Kelly, 
met, near midnight, close to the house of Carrowbawn. The watch- 
dogs met them coming into the yard ; but knowing them, fawned 
upon them, and licked their hands ; and whilst fawning and licking 
their hands, a razor was drawn across their throats. The murderers 
then entered an out-office, when John FitzOliver inquired from the 
farm-servants — two men and two boys — whether Counsellor Bodkin, 
who was coming to the assizes, had arrived, and whether he was in 
the house. The servants, half awakened, replied that he was not ; 
and falling into a deeper sleep, were noiselessly despatched, their 
throats being cut from ear to ear. The murderers then silently 
entered the dwelling-house, and stabbed the man-servant and his 
wife, who slept in the hall. Marcus Lynch had his throat cut by 


John FitzOliver ; and his mangled corpse was found next day in ai 
pool of blood. Oliver Bodkin and his wife, who was enceinte, were 
noiselessly despatched by Hogan. But his heart relented when his 
little foster-child cried out from the bed — *' Ah ! Daddy, Daddy, 
sure you won't kill your little child." " Hush,^' said the subdued 
monster, and smearing him with blood, he desired him not to stir, 
or he must surely die. Just at the moment Blind Dominick en- 
tered, and vowed that the child must perish, and that he would kill 
Hogan if he did not instantly kill the cause of all their bloody work. 
Whereupon Hogan cut off the boy's head, and placed the trunk on 
his father's bosom. The assassins then left Carrowbawn, leaving 
no living witness of the bloody deed that had been done. The fol- 
lowing day, when the dreadful story spread, the ghastly spectacle 
was visited by hundreds of the peasantry, who rose as one man to 
discover and cast out from amongst them the monsters, whoever 
they might be, who had imbrued their hands in this wholesale 
slaughter. Lord Athenry, a neighbouring Justice of the Peace, 
remembered that he had received a letter from Oliver Bodkin, com- 
plaining that his son, John FitzOliver, had threatened to murder 
him. Spots of blood were visible on this young man's clothes. 
All eyes were upon him, as he was feigning the most poignant 
sorrow. There he stood moaning and sobbing over the mangled 
corpse of his father ; but the blood-stains were there, and how did 
they come there ? He was arrested by his lordship, and sent under 
a military escort to the Galway jail. There he confessed to have 
committed the murders, and gave the names of his accomplices, who 
had by that time fled from the abodes of men to the neighbouring 
caves of Stroum, where they were at length captured by the country 
people, who brought them up before Lord Athenry. His lordship 
committed them for trial at the approaching assizes, and with them 
was committed, on suspicion, John FitzCounsellor Bodkin.^ 

On Monday, the 5th of October, Mr. Justice Eose, accompanied 
by the Prime Sergeant, arrived in Tuam to hold the adjourned 
assizes; and on the next morning a strong military force, under the 
direction of Thomas Shaw, Esq., High Sheriff of the County, 
arrived from Galway with the prisoners. The Solicitor- General, 

• " Pne's Occurrences," 13th October, 1741. 



St. George Caulfield, appeared for the Crown, to conduct the 
prosecution. He had been on the Connaught Circuit, and the 
public had great confidence in his ability, learning, and integrity. 

On Wednesday, the 7th of October, the Grand Jury were 
re-sworn ; the learned judge delivered them a lengthened charge, 
and they found true bills against John FitzOliver Bodkin, Blind 
Dominick, and John Hogan ; but they threw out the bills against 
John FitzCounsellor. The jury was then sworn, and the prisoners 
given in charge. The Clerk of the Crown read the indictment, 
concluding — " How say you, guilty or not guilty ? " Hogan 
replied — *' Guilty, my lord ;" and he admitted that he had killed 
three ; that he wanted to save his foster-child ; but that when Blind 
Dominick entered, he made him cut off his head. Blind Dominick 
also pleaded guilty. Next came John FitzOliver, the instigator of 
the butchery, and he also pleaded guilty. Thereupon the learned 
judge, assuming the black cap, sentenced them to be hanged on the 
following morning. The sentence was heard by the three con- 
demned men^ all of whom admitted that they deserved the fate that 
awaited them. As it was the custom in those times to hang the 
murderers as near to the place of the murder as possible, they were 
carted from Tuam to Carrowbawn, and there, close to the high-road, 
John Hogan was first hanged from a tree. Blind Dominick came 
next, and he admitted that he had murdered six. Then came the 
turn of John FitzOliver, and with the rope round his neck he 
spoke this dreadful speech : — 

"Two years before the murder of my father, another murder was com- 
mitted by my cousin, John FitzCounsellor, of Carrowbeg, and it was that 
undiscovered crime that led me to commit the murder for which I am now 
about to die. He murdered his elder brother, Patrick, who left one son after 
him. On the night of that occurrence, Patrick and his brother, John Fitz- 
Counsellor, and he (John FitzOliver) slept in the same room. In the 
middle of the night John FitzCounsellor rose from his bed, and putting a 
pillow across the face of his brother Patrick, sat upon him, and thus 
smothered him. The death was unheeded at the time, inasmuch as the 
world had it that it was a sudden death." 

Having thus spoken, the young man was launched into eternity. 
John Bodkin FitzCounsellor was present at this dying declara- 
tion, and immediately succeeded in effecting his escape; but he was 



arrested on the 22nd of October, in a bog near Tiiam. True bills 
were found against him ; his trial, however, was postponed until 
the next Assizes at Gralway. In the following month of March the 
Circuit commenced at Ennis, as it was then the custom that the 
last town at one assize, should be the first at the next. Mr. 
Justice Rose and Mr. Justice Ward were the going judges. The 
Solicitor-General prosecuted, and Mr. Staunton defended the 
prisoner. What the evidence was has not come down to us. 
Suffice it to say that he was found guilty. He too was unmarried. 
The interval between the sentence and death was at that time a 
short one. A priest was brought into the cell, and there heard the 
last confession, and administered the last couimunion to the con- 
demned man. On the same evening he was led forth to the gallows 
green, close to the walls of Galway ; but he neither confessed nor 
denied the murder, though the friar conjured him to tell the world 
whether he was guilty or not. The wretched man, raising the cap 
that was drawn over his eyes, begged that he might be allowed to 
die in peace, that he forgave the world, but would make no fur- 
ther confession; he was then hanged, and his head ignominiously 
severed from his body. 

Thus ended those trials, and the memory of them, after a 
hundred and forty years, still is fresh in the minds of the 
neighbouring peasantry. Every circumstance connected with those 
deeds of blood is handed down from father to son. It is told at the 
firesides on the winter's evenings; and it is firmly believed amongst 
them, that on dark and tempestuous nights the moans of the mur- 
dered men, women, and children, are heard on the wind that sighs 
across the plains of Carrowbawn ; and they say, too, that the un- 
pitied cries of the murderers, 'mid the clank of their fiery chains, 
have been heard by those who have incautiously ventured too close 
to the deep caverns which stretch, we are told, far under the Hill 
of Knockma. 




A.D. 1745. 

RIME on tlie Connaught, and on tlie other circuits, 
during this quarter of the century, ebbed and flowed 
like the tide. And in Ireland, in this year, owing to 
the mild rule of the Earl of Chesterfield, then Lord 
Lieutenant, disturbances had disappeared. Disaffec- 
tion had ceased, and that, too, whilst there was downright 
revolt in Scotland, and there was anything but a well-grounded 
loyalty in England, or in England's possessions ; and the success at 
this momentous period was due, as we have said, to a pure spirit 
of justice — a gift much rarer in statesmen than talent. Actuated 
by this spirit, the Earl of Chesterfield received no tale on the 
ipse dixit of the tale-bearer. Alarmists were odious to him ; 
he sometimes got rid of them playfully, as in one case, when a 
person of importance assured him, ^' Papists were dangerous," he 
replied, he had never seen but one, and that was a Miss Ellen 
Ambrose, a Catholic beauty at his court ; in fact, " she was 
the only dangerous Papist in the kingdom." And she was so 
charmed with the mildness of the Earl's rule, that on a public 
occasion, to mark how thoroughly she could appreciate his abhor- 
rence of political prejudices, she wore a bouquet of orange lilies. 
His Excellency, pleased at the delicacy of the compliment, requested 
Mr. St. Leger, a witty young barrister, nephew of Baron St. Leger, 
who, as we have said, had travelled the Connaught Circuit, to 
say something handsome on the occasion, so he struck off the 
following impromptu — 

" Pretty Tory, why this jest 
Of wearing orange on thy breast, 
Since the same breast, uncovered, shows, 
The whiteness of the rebel rose 1 " ^ 

^ Mr. Callaghan, on the authority of two old ladies, attributes this 
impromptu to Lord Chesterfield* — " History of the Irish Brigade," p. 48. 


The marriage of this dangerous Catholic with a gentleman 
from the Province of Connaught is thus noticed in one of the 
Dublin papers of 1752 : 

" The celebrated Miss Eleanor Ambrose, of this kingdom, has, to the 
much envied happiness of one, and the grief of thousands^ abdicated her 
maiden empire of beauty, and retreated to the temple of Hymen. Her 
husband is Roger Palmer, Esq., of Castle Lacken, County Mayo." 

Their great-grandson. Sir Koger William Palmer, represented the 
County of Mayo in Parliament from 1857 to 1865. It was no 
ordinary achievement of a statesman to preserve peace in Ireland, 
when '' poor Prince Charles " (we take the liberty of quoting from 
a work by Queen Victoria) " was a fugitive, hiding in the 
mountains on the sides of Loch Arkaig and Loch Sheil,'' and 
when " the Marquis of Tullebardine (Duke of Athole, but for his 
attainder) unfarled the banner of King James; this was in 1745."^ 
There are few events in history that chain more strongly the in- 
terest and the sympathy of the world than the struggle of the last 
Stuarts — their heroism, their folly, their ruin, the deep devotion of 
their supporters, to whom loyalty was a religion, and the common 
destruction that overwhelmed them all. The Empress Queen, a 
daughter of the house against whom they fought, and in whose veins 
their blood mingles with the kindred blood of a hundred kings, drops 
the tear of pity over their fate. It is pleasing to see from every 
page of her Majesty's work, that the true heart of a woman beats 
under the mantle of a queen, and that human sympathy flourishes 
amidst the isolation of the throne. 

It was in 1746 that Galway was governed by a fierce soldier 
named Eyre, who made frequent application for enlarged powers to 
crush Popery ; but his representations were disregarded, and he 
sought for and obtained a personal interview with the Lord 
Lieutenant. The safety, the Governor said, of the town of Galway 
was not worth a day's purchase ; but his Excellency replied, that 
the Galway corporation should relax their illiberal code of laws. 
The Governor, disgusted, returned to his official home in the west, 
there to rule the Papists under his sway as best he might. 

*"More Leaves from a Journal of a Life in the Highlands," by Queen 
Victoria, p. 271. 



Protestant settlers, or rather the sons of the settlers — for another 
generation had grown up — went on increasing in wealth ; whilst 
the Catholics, hemmed round by penal laws, had the avenues to 
place and power closed against them. But the sons of those 
Catholics found no hesitation whatsoever in appropriating to 
themselves the daughters of their wealthy Protestant neighbours. 
Abduction became a matter of every day's occurrence, and when 
they did so appropriate them, the offended fathers found, as in 
Walter Tubman^s case, but little sympathy from the jurors of that 
day.^ These were, however, at best, but affairs of love, reminding 
one of the Sabines of former times ; nor did the Roman Catholics 
confine their annoyances to acts of romantic love. By them the 
law and the lawgivers were alike held in detestation. Every Catholic 
in Connaught was conversant with the once well-known case of 
Winter v. Birminghauif where Peter Browne, of Westport, in the 
County of Mayo, died in 1722, possessed of a lease which he 
declared he held in trust for Birmingham, the defendant, which 
lease he devised to Birmingham, the better to carry out the trust. 
Nevertheless, a discoverer named Winter, in no way connected 
with either Browne or Birmingham, obtained possession and title 
to the lands on the ground that he was a Protestant and Birming- 
ham a Catholic.^ 

Such also was the case of Sir Henry Bingham v. Martin Blake, ^ 
where the former brought an ejectment under the Popery laws at 
the Castlebar Assizes against the latter, and obtained a verdict and 
judgment; the only ground for such judgment being that the 
plaintiff, who was a Protestant discoverer, desired to appropriate 
the lands of the defendant because he was a Catholic. These are 
only a few of the many cases reported in Howard's ''Popery Laws; " 
cases which unhinged the allegiance of those whose ancestors 
fought for the throne in the reigns of the two last sovereigns of the 
House of Stuart. Who can wonder, then, if generation after 
generation was taught to despise alike the laws and the lawgivers ? 
These laws had their natural results. Lawless bands, whose head- 
quarters were at Kelly-Mount, in the County of Kilkenny, traversed 

^ Letter from W. Carey to Secretary Delafaye, January 2, 1732, Record 
Tower, Dublin Castle. MSS. Record Office. 

' Howard's " Popery Laws," p. 11. ' JUd. 13. 




the countiy. These were called the Kelly-Mount Gang, who 
went about plundering the houses of the rich Protestant gentry, 
and houghing and maiming their cattle; at one time they appeared 
in the norths at another time in the south. Their work of depre- 
dation went on ; but at last they were surrounded and captured 
by the military in the County of Mayo. Informations were sworn 
before a magistrate, and they were put on their trial at the Lent 
Assizes for Castlebar, 1743, before Mr. Justice Kose. Warden 
Flood, the Solicitor- General for Ireland, prosecuted, and the 
prisoners were defended by Counsellor Kelly and another. Evidence 
was given of the outrages committed by these lawless bandittis, 
but the jury, who, it would appear, sifted pretty carefully the 
evidence, only found one man named Butler guilty, and he was 
taken from the dock and instantly hanged.^ Some were acquitted, 
and others, who had not been put on their trial, were transmitted 
for trial to the County of Kilkenny. 

Whilst these deeds of violence were being enacted in the County 
of Mayo, a contention of a more peaceable character was being 
carried on relating to the County of the Town of Galway, between two 
practising barristers of the Connaught Circuit, Mr. Dominick Burke 
and Mr. Thomas Staunton. They had both been nominated for the 
office of Eecorder of Galway, and the former obtained the majority 
of votes. Staunton, notwithstanding, insisted that he was legally 
elected, and instituted proceedings, in the nature of a Quo Warranto j 
in the Court of King's Bench. From the King's Bench there 
was an appeal to the Court of Privy Council, where, after a- long 
argument, it was decided in favour of Mr. Burke. This case is 
thus noticed in *'Pue's Occurrences " of Tuesday, the 20th of Septem- 
ber, 1743 : — " Saturday last came on, before the Lords Justices 
and Privy Council, the hearing of the election of the Kecorder of 
Galway, between Dominick Burke and Thomas Staunton, Esquires. 
After a long debate of counsel learned in the law on each side, the 
former was appointed." 

A.D. 1745. — The journals of this year announce the death of 
" Counsellor Matthew Lyster, of the Connaught Circuit, well and 
deservedly regretted." 

1 (iT>„n.^ 

Pue's Occurrences," April 5, 17434 


On the Circuit during several years had practised a lawyer whose 
name was Matthew Concannon. Leaving his native country about 
the year 1740, he took his departure for Jamaica, where, joining the 
local bar, he soon acquired extensive practice, and in 1745 was 
appointed Attorney-General for the island. In the following year 
he died, as he was about being raised to the Bench. 

A.D. 1746. — A remarkable case^ was tried at the Koscommon 
Assizes in this year. John Crofton was indicted for the forgery of 
the will of Sir Edward Crofton, fourth baronet, who died at Mote 
Park in 1745. Mr. Justice French and Baron Mountney were 
the Judges of Assize, before the former of whom the case came 
on to be heard. Mr. Kelly prosecuted, and Sir Oliver Crofton, 
Bart., who was then a practising barrister, defended the prisoner ; 
and it did appear marvellous to many that Sir Oliver appeared as 
counsel in the case, inasmuch as he himself was deeply interested 
in its result. Had the prisoner been acquitted, the will must 
have stood, and Sir Oliver would have taken the Eoscommon 
estates which had belonged to the deceased baronet. 

Counsel for the prosecution stated the case. The Croftons 
were a family of remote antiquity in the County of Cumberland ; 
but they had not settled in Ireland until the reign of Queen 

Sir Edward, the second baronet, left at his death, in 1714, by 
his wife, Catherine, daughter of Oliver St. George, Esq., of 
Carrick, two sons, the elder of whom was Sir Edward, the third 
baronet^ and the younger Oliver Crofton, of Lessenane, in the 
County of Limerick. The third baronet died in 1729, leaving Sir 
Edward, the fourth baronet, and one daughter, Catherine, who 
afterwards married Marcus Lowther. The fourth baronet died in 
1745, and on his death without issue, his sister Catherine Lowther, 
became his heiress-at-law ; but a will was found, which it was 
alleged had been made by the fourth baronet, devising the estates 
to his cousin. Sir Oliver, the fifth baronet, who was eldest 
son of Oliver Crofton, of Lessenane, second son of the second 
baronet. This will became the subject-matter of the investigation 
of which we treat. By it all the estates were devised to the fifth 

' " Falkner's Journal," 28th June, 1746. 




baronet, who now appeared as counsel in the case, and who defended 
the prisoner at the bar. A medical man named Egan was ex- 
amined, and proved that prisoner had solicited him to witness 
the will which he (the prisoner) had forged. Egan had been in 
attendance on Sir Edward during his death sickness. The counsel 
for the prisoner denounced the case made for the prosecution ; he 
had no witnesses to examine, and the prisoner's mouth was closed, 
and he could not explain any matter connected with the transac- 
tion. The jury retired to consider their verdict, and after a delibe- 
ration of nine hours, returned a verdict of guilty. The will being 
thus set aside, the Crofton estates descended to Mr. Lowther, who 
by royal licence changed his name to Crofton ; and who, on the 
death of the fifth baronet, in 1758, was created a baronet. From 
him is descended the present Lord Crofton, of Mote Park, in the 
County of Roscommon. 

The Act of Parliament which had prevented Eoman Catholics 
from carrying arms, either in public or in private, was, as we 
have told in the case of The King v. Lynch ^ held merely to 
apply to those who were living at the time of the passing of 
the Act in 1691. The Crown lawyers, however, were dissatisfied 
at this construction of the Act ; and in the year 1746, Mr. 
Barnewell, of Turvey, and another, both Roman Catholics, were, 
at the suggestion of Lord Wyndham, then Lord Chancellor of 
Ireland, indicted for having openly carried arms in Trim, iu the 
County of Meath. True bills were found against them ; they 
were tried and found guilty, but immediately received a pardon 
at the unanimous suggestion of the Grand Jury of the County 
of Meath. Papists were at once disarmed all over L-eland, and the 
disarming was carried out with ruthless severity in the County 
of the Town of Galway. But how Robert Martin, of Ballina- 
hinch, the owner of 190,000 acres of land, accepted this con- 
struction of the law at the hands of Colonel Eyre, Governor of the 
Town of Galway, who caused his servant, a Papist, to be arrested 
and detained a whole night in prison, and the arms taken from 
him, we shall presently see. For not only did he first take an 
action against the gallant colonel, but afterwards " gave him 
the most unmerciful dhrubbing that ever was heard of in the 
streets of London." [Private letter in MSS.] 


Martin was deeply attached to the Koman Church, and in 1745 
was about to join in the effort to restore the Pretender to the 
throne of his ancestors. He had set out on his journey, but did 
not proceed far until he heard of the defeat at Culloden. Colonel 
Eyre, on the other hand, had fought under the banners of the 
Duke of Cumberland for the throne of the House of Hanover ; and 
both those men, of widely different political views, were now thrown 
into the same arena. Martin, for political reasons, on his return 
to Gal way, declared himself, for his own protection, a Protestant, 
and thereby became entitled to all those privileges which Protes- 
tants alone were entitled to enjoy. Colonel Eyre had been appointed 
to the governorship of the Town of Galway ; and as a new broom 
sweeps clean, so he was resolved to sweep the streets of Galway 
clean of priests, friars, and nuns who infested them. The better 
to carry out this design, he resolved that all Papists carrying arms 
within the boundaries of the County of the Town of Galway should 
be arrested. Now, Robert Martin, being a Protestant, was entitled 
to carry arms, and it so happened that on the evening of the 9th of 
November, 1747, he sent his messenger, one Darby Brennan, a 
Catholic, into Galway, with a gun and a pistol to be repaired. 
Brennan was arrested at the West Bridge, and taken before a Mr. 
Disney, a magistrate, who committed him to gaol, and sent the 
gun and pistol to the governor. On the next morning Disney 
called on the governor, and read for him his notes of Brennan's 
examination, from which it appeared that the arms were those of 
Mr. Martin. Immediately Colonel Eyre despatched a messenger 
named Hanley to Dangan, Mr. Martin's residence, with this 
memorandum (but without any other note or apology) : " Mr. 
Hanley will please take these arms to Mr. Martin, and tell him that 
it is far from my intention to be troublesome or peevish to any 
gentleman, and, therefore, I send him his arms, though in strict- 
ness they have become forfeited ; but I recommend him for the 
time to come to put his arms into the hands of persons not 
subject to be questioned.^' 

Outrageous that this governor should presume either to give him 
an uninvited advice or to arrest his servant, Mr. Martin turned 
Hanley out. In the course of the week he wrote to Governor 
Eyre, informing him that he had no right to seize his arms, and 



requiring that tliey should be instantly returned. The Colonel 
refused to do so, and lodged them in the King's stores. The Lent 
Assizes were then approaching, and Martin brought an action 
against Colonel Eyre, to recover those arms, which in his civil 
bill he alleged were converted by the defendant to his own use, 
as follows : — 

" Robert Martin, Esq., Plaintiff, 


" Stratford Eyre, Esq., Defendant. 
" By the Lords Justices of Assize for the Connaught Circuit. 

** The defendant is hereby required personally to appear before 
us, at eight o'clock, in Galway, on the 6th of April, to answer the 
plaintiff's bill for £5 sterling, being the value of one gun and 
pistol, being prosecutor's property, which defendant took and con- 
verted to his own use. — Dated March 30, 1748. — Signed by order." 

The case was called on. Mr. Dominick Burke, counsel for the 
plaintiff, put the Court in possession of the above facts, which 
he called several witnesses to prove. 

Mr. John Staunton appeared for the defence, and insisted 
that his client had acted without malice ; that a Papist, as the 
plaintiff's servant undoubtedly was, had no legal right to carry- 
arms ; that those arms were rightly taken from a Papist ; and that 
even assuming that they had been wrongfully taken, yet they were 
not converted by the defendant to his own use ; and he relied on the 
Disarming Act of 1691. He also put in evidence a correspondence 
between him and the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Mr. Weston, in 
which the latter advised him how to demean himself in the transac- 
tion. The case having closed on both sides, the Court decided that 
the arms must be restored to Robert Martin.^ Intoxicated with 
delight, he returned to Dangan, while Colonel Eyre proceeded to 
London, to obtain from head-quarters instructions how he was 
to act under similar circumstances in times to come. 

Far, however, from being satisfied with his legal victory, Mr. 

* MSS., Record Tower, Dublin Castle. Presentments. 


Martin at once followed Colonel Eyre to London, with the view 
of administering some wholesome chastisement to his gallant 
antagonist. By the merest accident he got a glimpse of the Colonel, 
with a Mr. Roger O'Farrell, entering a private house in St. James's 
Street. Martin waited for his exit ; and when he did come out, he 
rushed at him with a heavy hludgeon, and struck him several hlows 
on the head. He next called on him to draw his sw^ord ; and in a 
moment the clashing of arms was to be heard. Martin made a 
thrust at Eyre, who maintained a defensive position. Much skill 
was displayed on both sides ; and at length Colonel Eyre fell bathed 
in his blood. Borne to his lodgings, surgical assistance was soon 
obtained, and the w^ound, which w\as in his groin, was pronounced 
not to be of a dangerous type.^ Martin then returned to his moun- 
tain home in the wilds of Connemara. 

After the Galway Summer x\ssizes of 1748, little arrests the 
attention of the inquirer for some succeeding years. We have 
searched in vain for trials of interest during this period. But political 
excitement was gone, political agitation had ceased, and maiden 
assizes after maiden assizes are, at this time, frequently to be met 
with in the records of the Circuit. In 1755, however, the agitation, 
which was thought to be dead, revived. Houghers of cattle once 
more traversed the country in bands, and the assizes' lists were 
once more swelled by the trials. of men who took the law into their 
own hands, and were determined to make it an impossibility for 
Protestant farmers to live amongst them. Leases — such was the 
law — Catholics could not possess. Leases could be made to Pro- 
testants onl}'; but of what earthly use were those leases if the 
farmer had every cow, sheep, and horse that he fondly and vainly 
hoped to dispose of at the next fair, maimed in one night ? Trials 
for houghing cattle then became numerous, and the Crown counsel, 
as well as the counsel for the prisoners, made a rich harvest of that 
savage work of destruction. 

A.D. 1766. — A case of no great interest occurred on the Circuit 
at the Summer Assizes of Ballinrobe in this year. A young man 
named Morelly had been indicted for the murder of one Patrick 
Hanly, a pedlar. Mr. Eyre French, of the Connaught Circuit, 

' MSS., Record Tower, Dublin Castle. Presentments, 



appeared as counsel for the Crown. It was proved in evidence that 
the murdered man usually carried money ahout his person, that he 
was seen by one of the Crown witnesses to go into the prisoner's 
house on the 1st of January, 1764, and that on the following 
morning he was found murdered at a place called Balliville, quite 
close to the prisoner's house. It was also proved that the pack 
which he had carried on his back was rifled, that money was ab- 
stracted from his pocket, and was found wrapt in a piece of paper 
in the pocket of the prisoner when he was arrested ; and that on 
that paper were memoranda in the handwriting of the deceased. 

Mr. Morgan appeared as counsel for the prisoner. He admitted 
that the deceased had slept in the prisoner's house upon the night 
in question, but maintained that the deceased opened the pack, and 
that on retiring to rest he handed the prisoner his money to keep 
for him. A servant who slept in the house swore that the deceased 
got out of his bed about two o'clock in the morning and went out, 
and that while he was out he was murdered by some persons un- 
known. Such was this the unromantic case, which excited little 
interest beyond the narrow precincts of the town of Ballinrobe. The 
counsel, of course, on both sides, fought for their clients as they 
should fight when the life of a fellow-man was at stake ; but beyond 
this there was apparently no cause for embittered feeling. The 
learned judge who tried the case was Mr. Lill, then one of His 
Majesty's counsel, and afterwards a justice of the Court of Common 
Pleas. He charged the jury, leaving the matter entirely in their 
own hands, and giving them no information as to what he thought 
of the case. The jury retired, and returned in five minutes with a 
verdict of wilful murder against the prisoner. The judge then 
passed sentence of death upon him, and he was removed. Acciden- 
tally he remarked that he entirely concurred in the verdict, and 
counsel for the Crown replied " that everyone in court agreed with 
his lordship." *' That is false, sir ! " said the prisoner's counsel, 
*' and you know it is false. I for one do not concur in the verdict ; 
and you are unwarranted in making that observation ! " and so say- 
ing, he flung his brief in his adversary's face. The judge either 
did not see or did not pretend to see the insult, and immediately 
left the court, and that night mounted his horse, and, accompanied 
by several of the bar, '' rode off" to Galway. On the following 


morning, Mr. French and Mr. Morgan met in a field at Forthill, in 
the immediate neighbourhood of the town, and there " fought a 
duel with horse pistols. After they had fired four rounds, and 
while they were loading for the fifth, it was observed that Mr. 
Morgan had stufi'ed his hand into his breeches pocket, and that 
there was a pool of blood at his left foot. The seconds immediately 
interfered ; they found that his thumb had been shot off, and the 
counsellors left the field reconciled to each other. '^ Of Morelly, the 
writer in " Pue's Occurrences," August 30, 1766, states that " he 
was executed at Ballinrobe, pursuant to the sentence." 

Although the reports from the circuits are extremely meagre in 
those years, and although few cases of interest occurred in the 
Criminal Court, still, in the Record Court, there were many scenes of 
injustice done in the name of justice. Ejectments were brought by 
children against their fathers, and by brothers against their brothers ; 
the only ground that the plaintiffs had to rely upon in such cases 
being that they were certificated Protestants, while the defendants 
were Papists.^ 

A.D. 1772. — " Great rejoicings in Galway on Ladie Day in 
August, to thank God Almighty for passing ye Act of Parlement 
for to enable ye Catholics to take out leases of 50 acres of land. 
The Warden read High Masse in ye Parish Chapel, and Father 
Mark Skerrett, the bishop out of Tuam, gave holy water, and 
preached a grand sermon in English for ye counsellors who are 
here in great stock for ye assizes, although -'tis little they have 
to do in this place, thanks be to God." * (The Act here alluded 
to is the 11th and 12th Geo. III., chap, xxi., enabling Catholics 
to take leases of 50 acres of bog for 65 years, if not within one 
mile of a town.) Certainly the counsellors had nothing to do ; 
but never was the country more disturbed than in this year, and 
never in the memory of man was the Galway gaol so full as it was 
this year. Murderers, houghers of cattle, and highway robbers 
were there confined, without bail or mainprise, to take their trial 
at the Assizes, which were to open on the 10th of August. But 
on the night of the 8th, the sentry on guard opened the prison 

• Howard's Popery Laws. '* Scully's Popery Cases." 
*MS. Letter. 





gates, the jailer was bound hand and foot, a crowd rushed in and 
let out the prisoners. The consequence was that not a single 
prisoner was put on his trial, and the Crown counsel returned 
to Dublin without having had more trouble than that of reading 
their briefs and pocketing their fees ; but whether they returned 
those fees to the Crown we are not in a position to state. Two 
members of the Connaught Circuit were this year involved in 
litigation, the one with the other. It appears that " John Staunton, 
Counsellor-at-Law, and Eecorder of Galway, died 2nd December, 
1772 ; thereupon James O'Hara, Counsellor, was elected and sworn 
in his place as Eecorder, by one party, and Martin Kirwan, Coun- 
sellor, by the other ; and although judgment of ouster was obtained 
in the King's Bench against the former for usurpation, he disre- 
garded the judgment, and retained office." ^ 

A.D. 1775. — The Dublin papers give the following, indeed the 
only, report of the Galway Assizes in this year : — " We hear from 
Galway that two of the counsellors, Denis Daly and Pat Blake, met 
on the parade near the quay, on which Mr. Blake struck at Mr. 
Daly ; they then drew their swords and engaged. Mr. Blake re- 
ceived two wounds in his side, and Mr. Daly is unhurt ; the sur- 
geon who dressed Mr, Blake's wounds does not think either of them 
to be dangerous." 

Duelling was not confined to one branch of the legal profession. 
The attorney would not hear of his client taxing his bill of costs. 
Such outrageous conduct was met with wholesome correction ; and 
as sure as an attempt of the kind was made, a horsewhipping 
and a duel followed. 

Duellists do, as a matter of course, owe a debt of gratitude to 
Amby Bodkin, a barrister in good practice on the Connaught Cir- 
cuit, for his assistance in codifying the unwritten or common law, 
whereby affairs of honour had hitherto been regulated. This 
precious document, which was submitted to delegates at the Lent 
Assizes for the County of Galway, and which was accepted at the 
Clonmel Summer Assizes of 1777, is in the words and figures 
following, that is to say : — 

* Hardiman's " History of Galway," p. 227, note. 



"KuLEs AS TO Duelling and Points of Honour. 

" 1. — The first ofience requires the first apology, though the re- 
tort may have been more offensive than the insult. Example : — A. 
tells B. he is impertinent, &c. B. retorts that he lies ; yet A. must 
make the first apology, because he gave the first offence, and then, 
after one fire, B. may explain away the retort by subsequent apology. 

" 2.— But if the parties would rather fight on, then, after two 
shots each, but in no case before, B. may explain first, and A. 
apologise afterwards. 

" N.B. — The above rules apply to all cases of offences in retort 
not of a stronger class than the example. 

"3. — If a doubt exist who gave the first offence, the decision 
rests with the seconds; if they won't decide or can't agree, the 
matter must proceed to two shots, or to a hit, if the challenger re- 
quire it. 

" 4. — When the lie direct is the Jirst offence, the aggressor must 
either beg pardon in express terms, exchange two shots previous to 
apology, or three shots followed up by explanation, or fire on till a 
severe hit be received by one party or the other. 

" 5. — As a blow is strictly prohibited under any circumstances 
amongst gentlemen, no verbal apology can be received for such an 
insult : the alternatives therefore are, the offender handing a cane 
to the injured party, to be used on his own back, at the same time 
begging pardon, firing on until one or both is disabled, or exchang- 
ing three shots, and then asking pardon, without the proffer of the 

" If swords are used, the parties engage till one is well blooded, 
disabled, or disarmed ; or until, after receiving a wound, and blood 
being drawn, the aggressor begs pardon. 

*' N.B. — A disarm is considered the same as a disable : the 
disarmer may strictly break his adversary's sword ; but if it be the 
challenger who is disarmed, it is considered as ungenerous to do so. 

"In case the challenged be disarmed and refuses to ask pardon 
or atone, he must not be killed, as formerly ; but the challenger 
may lay his own sword on the aggressor's shoulder, then break the 
aggressor's sword, and say, * I spare your life ! ' The challenged 
can never revive that quarrel — the challenger may. 



" 6. — If A. gives B. the lie, and B. retorts by a blow, being the 
two greatest offences, no reconciliation can take place till after two 
discharges each, or a severe hit; after which B. may beg A.'s par 
don humbly for the blow, and then A. may explain simply for the 
lie ; because a blow is never allowable, and the offence of the lie 
therefore merges in it. (See preceding rule.) 

" N.B. — Challenges for undivulged causes may be reconciled on 
the ground, after one shot. An explanation or the slightest hit 
should be sufficient in such cases, because no personal offence 

" 7. — But no apology can be received in any case after the 
parties have actually taken their ground, without exchange of fires. 

" 8. — In the above case no challenger is obliged to divulge his 
cause of challenge, if private, unless required by the challenged so 
to do before their meeting. 

** 9. — All imputations of cheating at play, races, &c., to be con- 
sidered equivalent to a blow, but may be reconciled after one shot, 
on admitting their falsehood, and begging pardon publicly. 

" 10. — Any insult to a lady under a gentleman's care or protec- 
tion to be considered as, by one degree, a greater offence than if 
given to the gentleman personally, and to be regulated accordingly. 

" 11. — Offences originating or accruing from the support of 
ladies' reputation to be considered as less unjustifiable than any 
others of the same class, and as admitting of slighter apologies by 
the aggressor — this to be determined by the circumstances of the 
case, but altvays favourable to the lady. 

*' 12. In simple unpremeditated r^ncowfr^s with the small sword, 
or couteau-de-chasse, the rule is — first draw, first sheathe ; unless 
blood be drawn, then both sheathe, and proceed to investigation. 

" 13. — No dumb-shooting or firing in the air admissible in any 
case. The challenger ought not to have challenged without re- 
ceiving offence ; and the challenged ought, if he gave offence, to have 
made an apology before he came on the ground ; therefore, children's 
play must be dishonourable on one side or the other, and is 
accordingly prohibited. 

*' 14. — Seconds to be of equal rank in society with the principals 
they attend, inasmuch as a second may either choose or chance to 
become a principal, and equality is indispensable. 


" 15. — Challenges are never to be delivered at night, unless the 
party to be challenged intend leaving the place of offence before 
morning ; for it is desirable to avoid all hot-headed proceedings. 

" 16. — The challenged has the right to choose his own weapon, 
unless the challenger gives his honour he is no swordsman ; after 
which, however, he cannot decline any second species of weapon 
proposed by the challenged. 

" 17. — The challenged chooses his ground ; the challenger 
chooses his distance ; the seconds fix the time and terms of firing. 

" 18. — The seconds load in presence of each other, unless they 
give their mutual honours they have charged smooth and single, 
which should be held sufficient. 

" 19. — Firing may be regulated — first, by signal ; secondly, by 
word of command ; or thirdly, at pleasure, as may be agreeable to 
the parties. In the latter case, the parties may fire at their reason- - 
able leisure, but second presents and rests are strictly prohibited. 

" 20. — In all cases a miss-fire is equivalent to a shot, and a 
snap or a 7ion-cock is to be considered as amiss-fire. 

" 21. — Seconds are bound to attempt a reconciliation before the 
meeting takes place, or after sufficient firing or hits, as specified. 

" 22. — Any wound sufficient to agitate the nerves, and neces- 
sarily make the hand shake, must end the business for that day. 

" 23. — If the cause of meeting be of such a nature that no 
apology or explanation can or will be received, the challenged takes 
his ground, and calls on the challenger to proceed as he chooses ; 
in such cases firing at pleasure is the usual practice, but may be 
varied by agreement. 

" 24. — In slight cases the second hands his principal but one 
pistol, but in gross cases two, holding another case ready-charged 
in reserve. 

" 25. — Where seconds disagree, and resolve to exchange shots 
themselves, it must be at the same time and at right angles with 
their principals, thus : — 





" If with swords, side by side, with five paces interval. 

" N.B. — All matters and doubts not herein mentioned will be 

explained and cleared up by application to the committee, who meet 

alternately at Clonmel and Galway, at the Assizes for that purpose. 

" Crow Ryan, President. 
" James Keogh, 
" Amby Bodkin, 


"Additional Galway Articles. 

"1. No party can be allowed to bend his knee or cover his 
side with his left hand, but may present at any level from the hip 
to the eye. 

" 2 — None can either advance or retreat if the ground be 
measured. If no ground be measured, either party may advance at 
his pleasure, even to touch muzzle ; but neither can advance on his 
adversary after the fire, unless the adversary steps forward on him. 

"N.B. — The seconds on both sides stand responsible for this 
last rule being strictly observed, bad cases having accrued from 
neglecting of it." ^ 

Amby Bodkin was in fair business on the Circuit ; his name is 
to be met wdtli here and there in " Pue's Occurrences," and is 
found signed to pleadings in the Plea Rolls of the Courts. He was 
Counsel for the plaintiff in a case where Sir Ulick Burke, of Glinsk, 
in the County Galway, was defendant. Sir Ulick and his attorney 
sent him and the opposite attorney challenges to fight. All the 
parties went out mounted on horseback, formed a quadrille, and 
blazed,, when Bodkin fell " well hit." Prodigious crowds gathered 
to see the savage encounter. Sir Ulick's eldest son, a child of six 
years old, was brought out, and hoisted on men's shoulders, "to 
see papa fight." 

A case of considerable interest, connected with the Penal Laws, 
was tried at the Summer Assizes for the County Galway, in this 
year. A gentleman, residing on his estate in that county, had in 
early life (we refrain advisedly from giving names), to save his 
estate, become a Protestant, and used to attend Church and receive 
the sacrament every Christmas Day and Easter Sunday ; but on all 

^ Barrington's "Personal Sketches," p. 104. 


other Sundays and holidays throughout the year he was wont to 
hear Mass, which w^as celebrated in his ancient castle. But he 
was never seen at Mass, which was said at a table directly opposite 
an aperture, called in monastic language a *' Hagioskope,^' made in 
the wall of the adjoining drawing-room, where he knelt, which no 
other person was permitted to enter. As he grew into old age, he, 
like Moses of old, was unable to go in and go out as in the days of 
his youth, and he could no longer come down to the Hagioskope. 
So a trap-door was cut in the floor of the room above that in which 
the priest officiated, to which this old man's bed was carried, and 
thus he was able to be present unseen at the ceremony. Drawing 
near his end, he sent for a Dominican friar, who received him for- 
mally into the Catholic Church, and administered to him the last 
sacraments, after he had made his will. The question, then, the 
jury at the Assizes had to try was two-fold ; first, Was the will the 
last will and testament of the deceased ? And that depended^on 
another question — Was the deceased competent, being a relapsed 
Papist ? For no person could make a valid will if he relapsed into 
Popery either before or after making the will. Counsel in support 
of the will insisted that there was no evidence that he had relapsed 
into "Popery; " whilst counsel impugning the will proved beyond 
all doubt that a Popish priest, dressed in black, had a pair of 
candles lighted, and that a white cloth was put under the chin of 
the dying man, and he administered to him the Communion. The 
case having closed, the learned judge told the jury that this being 
a penal statute, the burden of proving by reputation, if no higher 
proof was required, that this gentleman who administered something 
to the deceased was a priest at all, lay on the party impugning the 
will ; the jury were bound to assume, until the contrary was proved, 
that everything was properly done according to law ; and, for all they 
could tell, the so-called priest might have been an apothecary or a 
doctor (and doctors usually dress in black), who was administering 
some medicine to him, and they all knew how sick persons taking 
medicine were in the habit of having a towel under their chins. It 
also might have been that the person in black was a barber ; for 
nothing relieves a sick man more, when his hair is matted in sick- 
ness, than to have himself cleanly shaved. As for having lighted 
candles, why, he might have wanted to seal a letter, or an apothe- 



cary might have required them for his chemicals, or a barber to see 
what he was about. He (the learned judge) would not offer any 
opinion other than what he had stated. It was a question entirely 
for the jury, who, without turning in the box, found that there was 
no proof that the testator was a relapsed Papist, and consequently 
that the will was duly executed. The charge of the learned 
Chief Justice Gore, Lord Annaly, who tried the case, gave satis- 
faction to those practising on the Connaught Circuit ; for the cur- 
rent of public opinion had even then set in strongly against the 
Penal Laws. 

Amongst the leaders of the Circuit in 1778 was James O'Hara, 
whose name is appended to many a pleading in Courts both of law 
and equity. The following is an interesting event in his family, 
told in "Pue's Occurrences " : — '* A few days ago, Nicholas Martin, 
of Koss, was married to the beautiful Miss O'Hara, daughter to 
Counsellor O'Hara, a gentleman in large practice on this Circuit.'* 

A horrible case occurred at this period, which we shall relate, as 
it goes a great way to show the extraordinary devotion of the lower 
to the higher classes of society in those times. The case was that 
of The King, at the relation of Dennis Bodkin, v. Patrick French. 
It appears that a Mr. French, who resided near Loughrea, one of 
*' the ould shtock," was a remarkably nice little man, but of an 
extremely irritable temperament ; he was an excellent swordsman, 
and, as was often the case, was proud to excess. Some relics of 
feudal arrogance used frequently set his neighbours and their 
adherents together by the ears. Now, Mr. French and his wife 
had conceived a deep dislike for a Mr. Dennis Bodkin, who enter- 
tained an equal aversion to their arrogance, and took every possible 
opportunity of irritating and opposing them. On one occasion, 
Mr. Bodkin succeeded in offending the squire and his lady to an 
extraordinary degree ; and it chanced that on the evening of that 
day they entertained a large company at dinner, when Mrs. French 
launched out in abuse of her enemy, concluding her speech with 
a wish ** that somebody would cutoff the fellow's ears, and that 
might quiet him.'' 

The subject was changed after a while, and all went on well 
till supper, at which time, when everybody was happy, the old 
butler, one Ned Regan, who, according to custom, had 

', the old ^ 
ad drunk ^^^ 



enough, came in ; joy was in his eye, and, whispering something 
to his mistress which she did not comprehend, he put a large 
snuff-box into her hand. Fancying it was some whim of her old 
domestic, she opened the box and shook out its contents, when lo, 
a pair of bloody ears dropped out on the table ! The horror of the 
company was awakened, upon which old Ned exclaimed — " Sure, 
my lady, you wished that Dennis Bodkin's ears were cut off, so I 
told old Geoghegan, the gamekeeper, and he took a few handy boys 
with him, and brought back his ears, and there they are, and I hope 
you are plazed, my lady ! " 

The scene may be imagined ; but its results had like to have 
been of a more serious nature. The sportsman and boys were 
ordered to get off as fast as they could, and old French and his 
wife were held to heavy bail at the ensuing assizes at Galway. The 
evidence of the entire company, however, united in proving that 
the lady never had an idea of giving such an order, and that it was 
a mistake on the part of the servants. The accused, of course, 
were acquitted, and the sportsman and the boys never reappeared 
in the county till after the death of Mr. Bodkin.^ 

The year of the bloodless revolution, 1782, was unmarked by 
crime on the Circuit, and white gloves were presented in Galway 
to the Judges, and, according to the custom of the day, to each of 
the counsellors, a custom not likely to cost the High Sheriff a large 
outlay during his year of office, seeing how few and far between 
those maiden assizes were. Far more likely was it that the expense 
of the black gloves, then presented alike to the Bench and bar, on a 
criminals receiving sentence, would enter into the calculations of 
the sheriff on his taking office ! The Irish Volunteers, well armed, 
well clothed, and well disciplined, aided the civil power in preserv- 
ing the peace of the country ; and it is worth remarking that we 
do not find any riotous assemblies in the province, on account of 
the change of the Calendar which, in Ireland, was effected this 
year, such as did take place in England, on a like occasion, thirty 
years previously. In that countrj^, churches were wrecked by angry 
mobs intolerant of the adoption of the Calendar of Pope Gregory 
XIII. The change of styloj whilst in England, it filled the dock 

* Barrington's "Personal Sketches,'* p. 25. 



■with theological criminals, and the Crown and dock lawyers with 
fees, in Ireland passed without a scratch in the western province, 
though it was otherwise in Ulster, as the records of the north-east 
and north-west Circuits, I apprehend, can testify. The change had 
worked, however, some interesting results on the civil side of the 
Courts ; and so far as that is concerned, without launching into 
astronomical calculations, we shall merely observe that by the Act 
24 George II., chap, xxiii., a.d. 1751, the 25th of March was to be 
no longer, as it had been in times past. New Year's Day, and 
1752 was declared to begin on the 1st of January ; and so we have 
the curious fact that 1751 (commencing on the 25th March, and 
closing on the 31st December) counted only 281 days. Ireland 
did not receive the reformed Calendar until the year of Irish inde- 
pendence. The Act (6 George I.) which abrogated the appellate 
jurisdiction of the Irish House of Lords was, by the 21st & 22nd 
George III., chap. 48, sec. 3, then repealed, and that house once 
more became the Court of ultimate appeal in Ireland. The Irish 
bar shared in the emoluments consequent on the change, and we 
may presume that the Connaught lawyers had a fair proportion 
thereof also. 

In 1783, Richard Martin, of Ballinahinch, who had lately been 
called to the bar, chose the Connaught as his Circuit. He had 
previously, on 31st of May, 1779, been elected, on their embodi- 
ment. Colonel of the Galway Volunteers ; and, therefore, it was 
that he was known sometimes as Counsellor, and more times as 
Colonel Martin. In the same year, Counsellor James O'Hara, 
Recorder of Galway, was appointed Captain of a Grenadier Company 
in the same regiment ; and he, too, was more frequently known by 
his military than his civil style and title. Both those learned 
warriors travelled the Connaught Circuit, as also did Mr. James 
Jordan, of Rosslevin Castle, a representative of an old — a very old — 
Catholic family. The Penal Laws were then in full force, and the 
property of a Catholic proprietor was unsafe unless he conformed. 
On the convert roll, in consequence, the names of many western 
gentlemen appear in the Rolls Office, and amongst them is that of 
James De Exeter Jordan. Possessed of abilities above the average, 
he was called to the bar, and, as a matter of course, went the 
Connaught Circuit. Before, however, he laid himself out for 


active business, he resolved to see somewhat of the world ; and so, 
accompanied by his relative and co-circuiteer. Colonel Martin, he 
travelled over the Continents of Europe and America ; and in 
Jamaica the young men spent much time together. Returning to 
his ancestral home in Mayo, Jordan was pained at seeing that the 
education of his sisters had not been attended to during his absence 
by his mother, and an estrangement between mother and son fol- 
lowed in consequence. It was in this state of things that Colonel 
Martin, at the bar dinner, in the presence of a number of barristers, 
and with his feelings perhaps a little soured by the usual acerbities 
of a trial which had occupied the day, reproached Jordan with not 
having treated his mother with due respect. Jordan, whose temper 
it was easy at 'the time to ruffle, resented the observation as imper- 
tinent and intrusive. A challenge followed. Martin was a noted 
duellist, and nobody could suspect him of cowardice ; nevertheless 
he declined to meet in deadly combat his former friend, to whom 
he apologised ; but all to no purpose. Nothing would satisfy Jordan 
short of an impossibility — an apology before the same persons before 
whom the charge had been made. And so the adversaries met in 
a field near the public road at Green Hills, half way between 
Castlebar and Westport. Even then Martin came unprovided 
with pistols ; but Jordan insisted on his using one of his own 
weapons. Reluctantly, on the word to fire being given, Martin 
fired his pistol, and the ball hit Jordan in the groin, where it lodged, 
and, after days of excruciating agony, death put an end to the 
existence of the unfortunate and misguided young man, at the 
house of Mr. Bourke, of Green Hills. That death caused Martin 
inexpressible angish. 

" On cliff he hath been known to stand, 
And rave, as to some bloody hand, 
Fresh sever'd from its parent limb, 
Invisible to all but him, 
"Which beckons onward to his grave. 
And lures to leap into the wave." 

At Castlemacgarrett, the seat of Lord Oranmore, where the 
Colonel had been a frequent guest, he was observed with a carving 




knife, as if it were a pistol, in his hand, and, in great absence of 
mind, exclaim—" No, I could not have missed him. Poor Jordan, 
I could not have missed you ! " 


Ballinrobe Summer Assizes, 1783. 

In re George FitzGerald v. George Robert FitzGerald, 

Crown Court. 

Mr. Richard Martin, of Ballinahinch, instructed by Mr. P. 
Randal McDonnell, applied in this case to the judge on behalf 
of George FitzGerald, Esq., for liberty to arrest George Robert 
FitzGerald, his son, of Turlough, within the precincts of the 
Court, which motion was grounded on the affidavit of the attor- 
ney who was also solicitor in causes then pending between the same 
parties in the High Court of Chancery and Court of Equity 
Exchequer in Ireland. 

This being the first application in which George Robert 
FitzGerald comes before us, it appears advisable to depart from 
the form of the affidavit, and to tell in popular rather than in 
legal phraseology somewhat of this remarkable man, still remem- 
bered on the Circuit as '' Fighting FitzGerald," and somewhat 
of his family also. George Robert FitzGerald, of Turlough, 
widely connected in the Counties of Galway and Mayo, repre- 
sented a branch of a family whose origin is lost in the twilight 
of fable. A Lisbon manuscript, of 1604, traces the FitzGeralds 
from Ireland to France, from France to the north of Italy, from 
the north of Italy to Carthage, and from Carthage, in the time 
of Dido, to Troy. For the tradition is that when Troy, *' built by 
Neptune," had fallen, the ancestor of this ancient race accom- 
panied the " pious iEneas " to Latium. This, at all events, is 
certain, that the FitzGeralds, both Kildare and Desmond, spring 
from the great house of the Guerardi in Florence, and that they 
are noble amongst the noble, and that the house of Kildare has 


maintained uninterruptedly the reputation and the power which it 
possessed when it came to Ireland, more than seven centuries ago ; 
and that the seventeenth Earl closed the princely line of Desmond 
far hack as the reign of Elizabeth. From the Desmond branch 
spring the FitzGeralds, of Turlough ; who, for their devotion to 
the royal cause forfeited their estates in the County of Water- 
ford, whence Oliver Cromwell removed them to the Yale of Tur- 
lough, a place remarkable for its round towers, Celtic curiosities, 
and Druidical altars, and situated within three or four miles of 
the town of Castlebar. Here they were settled in the middle of 
the last century, when Greorge FitzGerald (the applicant in the 
case now before the Court), a captain in the Austrian service, 
married Lady Mary Hervey, daughter of the Earl of Bristol. 
He was the father of tw^o sons, George Robert, and Charles 
Lionel. Their mother. Lady Mary, w^ho died in 1753, left her 
husband, who, during the remainder of his life, lived with 
another woman. George Robert, the eldest son and heir, was sent 
to Eton, where he acquired the reputation of being " deeply read 
and passionately fond of the classical authors." Leaving college 
at an early age, he entered the army, and his first quarters were in 
the town of Galway. Here we find him, at the age of sixteen, 
falling in love with a milliner, whose father and mother once 
moved in the upper circles of society. FitzGerald, of course, had 
no idea of matrimony ; but the lady had, and would have gladly 
been the wife of a gentleman of fortune. He met this young lady 
on an afternoon in a shop in Galway. She was sitting behind a 
counter, over which, without a moment's reflection, he vaulted, 
snatched from her lips a kiss, and then retreated. She screamed ; 
an outcry was at once raised, and a Mr. Lynch, from the other side 
of the street, who, though a shopkeeper, was also so much a 
gentleman as to prefer fighting to calling in the aid of a constable,^ 
came to the rescue. FitzGerald draws his sword ; Mr. Lynch 
cries, " Oh ! my bold boy, two can play at this work ; I'll just step 
across the street for my rapier." 

" What ! you shop -keeping miscreant ! do you think that I shall 
fight with a tradesman ? No, sir ! I will give you a sound 

* Archdeacon's "Legends of Connaught." 


thrashing with this, my rascal -thrasher," wielding a heavy shille- 
lagh, which he always carried along with him, as well as a small 

Lynch, who was a stout, brave fellow, at once sent him a 
message by a Mr. French ; but George Kobert scorned the idea of 
fighting a shop-keeper, and declined to accept the challenge ; he 
insisted, however, on an encounter with Mr. French, and he 
consenting, they retired to a convenient room, locked the door, and 
took their places. FitzGerald fired first and missed, his ball 
entering the wainscot. French's pistol missed fire, for the best 
reason — he had forgotten to prime it. George Robert, observing this, 
stepped forward, and offered his antagonist his powder-horn. 
This placed Mr. French in a very embarrassing position, from 
which he was relieved by persons bursting into his room on 
hearing the report of the pistol. In a day or two afterwards, 
FitzGerald fought a duel with a Lieutenant Thompson in Gahvay, 
was hit in the temple, and fell in a pool of blood. The surgeon, 
on examining the wound, asserted he must be trepanned. After 
a long time he recovered, but his brain, it is said, was aff'ected ; 
and many years after lie was laid in his dishonoured grave 
this fracture was pointed to in his whitened skull by those who 
would fain excuse his acts of wild daring and revenge. 

George Robert went, on his recovery, to reside with his father 
at Turlough, and devoted himself, while there, to the manly sports 
of the field. On his return to Dublin, from a visit to the Con- 
tinent, he carried off for his wife the sister of Mr. Connolly, of 
Castletown, in the County Kildare. She was possessed of a 
fortune of £10,000, and his father agreed to give him a rent- 
charge on his estate. This being settled, the young couple went 
abroad, and, of course, sought the French capital, where their 
high birth procured for them an introduction to the Court of 
Louis XVI., where, though much restrained by the soft influences 
of his amiable wife, he is found playing pranks, and showing off* 
extravagancies that only mental derangement could account for. 
Subsequently he returned to Ireland, and resided either at his 
house, 23 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin, or at Rockfield, near 

* "Autobiography of Hamilton Rowan." 


In Dublin, besides fighting a duel with John Tolei* (after- 
wards Lord Norbury, Chief Justice of the Court of Common 
Pleas), he fired a pistol at the Right Hon. Denis Browne, and 
spat at John FitzGibbon, afterwards so well known as the stern 
Chancellor, Lord Clare. FitzGerald, in 1780, took part with 
those who asserted the legislative independence of L-eland, and 
joined the connections of his wife and mother in bringing about 
the great Volunteer movement. 

Li 1783 his levities, quarrels, and wild doings shattered the 
nervous frame of his wife, and she sank into an untimely grave. 
Her remains, followed by her husband, were conveyed with much 
pomp, and in the depth of winter^ from Castlebar to Celbridge, 
in the County of Kildare. Returning to Mayo, he insulted 
the leader of the ConnaTighb Circuit, Sergeant Browne, and 
challenged his nephew, the Right Hon. Denis Browne, to fight 
a duel in Westport. When arranging the preliminaries, George 
Robert fired at his adversary, and missed him. Browne retreated 
into his house — properly insisting that he would have nothing 
further to do with one who acted as an assassin. In the next year, 
1784, he married the only daughter and heiress of Mr. Vaughan, 
of Carrowmore, in the County of Mayo. 

Subsequent to George Robert's marriage with Miss Connolly a 
settlement was made, by which, in consideration of a sum of 
i£8,000 paid to his father, the latter assigned a rent-charge of 
£1,000 per annum, and settled his whole estate on George 
Robert and on his issue male, and, in default of such issue, re- 
mainder to himself, the father, absolutely. 

Now it so happened that George Robert had but one daughter 
by his first wife, and there was no likelihood of issue by his second. 
This position threw a power into the hands of the father, and 
gave grounds for hope to the younger brother, Charles Lionel, 
whose object it was to obtain as much influence as he could over 
his father, so that the inheritance should be secured to him and 
his heirs ; hence a jealousy between the two brothers, and the desire 
of both to secure a personal influence and control over their weak 
parent. Living beyond his income, that parent failed to pay George 
Robert his annuity of £1,000, and a large arrear soon accrued. 
It would appear, according to George Robert's statement, which 


has not been denied, that an amicable application was made to the 
Equity Exchequer, to make him, as having a prior claim to the 
other creditors, custodee of the estate until the debt was paid, he 
allowing his father a certain sum for maintenance. It would also 
appear that subsequently the old man, instigated by the woman 
with whom he lived, did his best to evade this arrangement, and 
that she had the wit and management to step in and receive from 
the tenants all the rents of the estate herself. 

George Robert had made his father a gift of a house near 
Turlough, and fifty acres of land; but nevertheless the latter threw 
himself into the power and under the influence of his younger 
son, Charles Lionel, and under that influence long leases, and 
at low rents, were granted to Charles Lionel and to a Mr. Caesar 
French, who was his friend. The relations of the father and his 
eldest son thus became more hostile than thev had previouslv 
been ; conflicting notices as to the payment of rent were served 
on the tenantry, and acts of violence were resorted to. IVIr. 
French having got his lease, sent a herd of cattle from the 
County of Galway to stock his new farms. George Robert 
at once seized the cattle, sold them off by auction, and the 
money, without much ceremony, he converted to his own use. 
Mr. French hearing this, came to Castlebar to recover his pro- 
perty, not, however, by an action of trover, or in detinue, but, 
meeting George Robert close to the hotel, he rushed at him. 
Both drew their swords, and for a length of time fought up and 
down the streets, making passes and feints, to the infinite de- 
light of the many bystanders who lined the streets. At length 
French got a smart wound in the hip, which roused him to double 
exertions, and being the heavier and stronger man of the two, he 
pressed George Robert so hard that the latter felt that the only 
way to save his life was to throw himself on the ground, as if he 
had fallen by chance. Of course, French was too honourable a man 
to take advantage of his fallen foe, and his wound now being 
troublesome, he was conveyed to his inn, whereupon FitzGerald, 
with his usual arrogance, asserted that he had conquered his 

Caesar French, having soon after recovered from his wound, 
was resolved on recovering his cattle ; but even then his course 


was widely different from that which would be adopted by the 
degenerate men of modern days. He assembled a faction of his 
own family, friends, and followers in the County of Gal way, some 
of them men of rank and fortune, to the number of 400, all well 
armed and equipped, and proceeded to Turlough, where he 
encamped, determined to seize his own cattle, or take away an 
equivalent ; but the enemy was not to be taken unawares ; for 
George Eobert had removed his stock, and had so well secured 
himself and his property that the Galway forces could injure 
neither him nor his. Thereupon Caesar French and his army, 
having remained some time unmolested and idle, found it neces- 
sary to beat a retreat ; George Robert then sallied forth, attacked 
the retreating army in the rear, and succeeded in cutting off the 
baggage, and making several prisoners of war, while the van of 
the retreating column was a mile a-head. Caesar being speedily 
informed of what had taken place, collected his veterans, wheeled 
round, and rushed to the rescue. A pitched battle ensued, and 
George Robert, after a sharp encounter, abandoned his prey and 
his prisoners, and, with the loss of some of his own party, was 
routed, and Avith difficulty made his escape to Turlough. The 
conquering Caesar in the meantime, exulting in his victory, marched 
in triumph with his prisoners to Galway. 

Old FitzGerald having thus thrown himself into the hands 
of the enemies of his eldest son, the latter, by the non-payment 
of a certain sum for maintenance upon his father, reta- 
liated upon him the conduct which had been pursued towards 
himself. His father, therefore, filed a bill against him in Chan- 
cery, and the affairs of that unhappy family became so en- 
tangled, that it is a matter of difficulty to arrive at the true 
position of the several parties. At that time there were two 
concurrent jurisdictions on the equity side of the Hall. In the 
Equity Exchequer George Robert had, as we have stated, what 
lawyers used to call a Citstodiam, that is, he was in possession as 
custodee, under that Court, of the family property ; so that whilst 
he was master of the situation in the Exchequer, his father became 
master of the situation in the Court of Chancery, and the Lord 
Chancellor issued a writ empowering him to arrest the body of his 
eldest son until maintenance was duly made to him. But to 


attempt to execute the writ at Turlougli was an impossibility, and 
he therefore waited until the Ballinrobe Summer Assizes, 1783, 
when, watching his son, and seeing him safe, as he thought, in the 
Grand Jury room, he applied by his counsel, as we have stated, 
to the judge for liberty to arrest him within the precincts of the 
Court, as it was impossible to do so elsewhere. The judge granted 
the application ; the old man and his younger son proceeded to the 
Grand Jury room to make the arrest, when lo ! he was gone ; for he 
had had intimation of what was going on in Court, and had made 
meanwhile his escape to Turlough. The old man, foiled in this 
endeavour, resolved to proceed, at the conclusion of the Assizes, to 
Dublin, and at once push on matters there with a high hand, and 
dispose of the ultimate remainder in fee of the Turlough estates! 
Unfortunately for himself, he told openly what he was about to do, 
and on the day of his journey he had not ridden with his servant 
more than five miles when he was surrounded by a cavalcade, 
and w^as brought a prisoner of war, not to Turlough House, where 
his eldest son resided, but to a fort hard by, which was guarded 
by an army of two hundred men, and a battery of cannon. 
Here he was imprisoned during the winter. At the Castlebar 
Spring Assizes of 1784, George Kobert FitzGerald and his 
brother, Charles Lionel FitzGerald, were both sworn on the Grand 
Jury. The latter applied to the judge for liberty to swear in- 
formations, on account of the false imprisonment of the father, 
against his elder brother, and to arrest him within the pre- 
cincts of the Court. The application was granted ; he was 
arrested, and true bills were found against George Robert by 
the Grand Jury. He immediately applied by counsel for an order 
to postpone the trial, stating at the same time that his father, who 
was a disreputable person, was not in custody at all. Richard 
Martin, counsel on the part of the father and younger brother, re- 
sisted the application, and submitted that if the trial were postponed, 
it must be on the terms of George Robert producing his father in 
open Court. And assuming, for the purposes of that argument, 
though not admitting it, that he was a disreputable person, how 
did that aid him in justifying a false imprisonment ? "No doubt, 
the old man may have in his long life committed many crimes ; yet 
his greatest against Heaven was that he had begotten such a son as 
George Robert FitzGerald.'^ 


The judge declined to postpone the trial, a jury was called to 
the box, and it was proved that the old man was sometimes chained 
to a muzzled bear, which George Robert had for a pet ; that at 
other times he was tied to a cart ; and, in a word, that manifold bar- 
barities were heaped on the unfortunate father by his son. The 
jury, without any hesitation, found him guilty, and he was sen- 
tenced to three years' imprisonment, and to pay a fine of i6 1,000. 
The following letter to the Attorney- General, from the judge who 
tried the case, is of much interest : — 

*^ To THE Right Hon. Barry Yelverton, His Majesty's 

'' Galway, ifJi April, 1784. 
*' Dear Attorney- General, — 

*' The Assizes at Castlebar portended much mischief, and pro- 
duced great trouble, but ultimately the peace of the county was 
preserved, and the justice of the nation was vindicated. 

" George Robert FitzGerald (who had with impunity defied the 
power of the Chancellor) lately erected a regular fort in the neigh- 
bourhood of Castlebar, deposited his father therein in safe custody, 
planted six battery cannons thereon, and garrisoned it with a ban- 
ditti, sometimes augmented to 200 men, and seldom reduced to 
less than seventy. Upwards of thirty of them were completely 
accoutred and armed. Hitherto they had been supplied with pro- 
visions out of the stock of Mr. Caesar French, which FitzGerald had 
seized without a colour of right. Shortly before the assizes he had 
repeatedly gone into Castlebar attended by a number of armed fol- 
lowers, whose character and riotous demeanour excited considerable 
apprehension in the townspeople. The volunteers of that town at 
length sent a message to him, assuring him of their peaceableness 
of disposition towards him, but their determined resolution to beat 
him and his followers if he attempted again to go into the town 
with any uncommon appearance of attendance. When we arrived, 
we found the town in great apprehension ; in a few hours after we 
opened our commission, the regulars marched from thence, and the 
preservation of the peace was left to a corps of volunteers, com- 
manded by Mr. Gregory, a very stout, active man. On Saturday 
morning Lionel FitzGerald, the younger brother of George, applied 


for liberty to swear informations against George on account of the 
imprisoning of bis father, and obtained permission. A magistrate 
granted a warrant for the arrest of George, in which Lionel was 
made special bailiff, the service being too dangerous for any otlier 
person to undertake it. The two brothers were sworn in on the 
Grand Jury, and many of George's adherents appeared in town 
armed. Soon afterwards the Grand Jury informed me that the 
brothers were engaged in personal conflict, and demanded my in- 
terposition to prevent bloodshed. The combatants were brought 
before me, and afforded a scene of great abuse on both sides, and 
considerable address on the part of George. I lectured them severely, 
and threatened to commit them both into the custody of the sheriff. 
At that time appeared ten or eleven of George's followers, who drew 
up before the Court-house, and charged their fusees, denouncing 
vengeance against any person who should molest him. It turned 
out, after much altercation, that Lionel, though a very stout fellow, 
was afraid to make a capture in the street, and therefore attempted 
it in the Grand Jury room, and in return George attempted to draw 
his sword, but was disarmed. The matter ended on my binding 
them to preserve the peace, and by taking security from George to 
appear to any indictment that might be jn-eferred against him, and 
from Lionel to attend the Court during the Assizes. On Sundaj^, 
the Castlebar volunteers seized ten stands of arms, six of which 
were loaden with ball, belonging to George's followers, which had 
been concealed. On Monday, Lord Altamont, perceiving a strong 
probability of a riot, sent in forty of his volunteers, to put them 
under the command of the sheriff. 

" That morning bills were found against George for the false 
imprisonment of his father, and immediately afterwards the Grand 
Jury, with a very manly spirit, marked their indignation by an ap- 
plication to the Bench to be advised as to the mode of procuring the 
emancipation of the old man. Some very curious attempts were 
made on me by George, which required my utmost dexterity. 

" On Tuesday morning a motion was made on his behalf to put 
off the trial upon an affidavit of the absence of witnesses who resided 
in the County of Sligo. I had judicial knowledge, from his own 
repeated admissions in open Court, from the informations, and an 
affidavit, that his father was at the fortification, within two miles of 


Castlebar, under the power of George. I offered to put off the trial 
if he produced his father in Court. He refused, and after a long 
debate at the bar I declined to become ancillary to a prolongation 
of his father's imprisonment for six months longer, and refused to 
put off the trial. Accordingly the trial was gone into, and a most 
impudent attempt was made to prove that the old man was never 
under the smallest degree of restraint. The evidence closed at 
twelve o'clock at night, and I finished my charge at three o'clock 
in the morning. The jury, in two minutes, found him guilty. It 
would, indeed, have required an uncommon perversion of under- 
standing to have acquitted him. The magnitude of the offence, 
his obstinate perseverance to withhold his father even from the eye 
of the Court, his repeated opposition to the process of the law, his 
contempt of even the Court of Chancery, the danger which I have 
seen during the trial of open hostility, his keeping a fortress 
garrisoned with a banditti, concurred in evincing the necessity of at 
length bringing conviction to his mind that his power was inferior 
to that of the law. He was, therefore, sentenced to three years' 
imprisonment, and fined ii 1,000. During the course of the trial 
much management was necessary to preserve the peace, and by the 
care of the sheriff, and the exertions of the volunteers, his banditti 
was intimidated and kept in subjection. His conduct was replete 
with finesse, but occasionally, in the paroxysm of his rage, he 
would give vent to expressions of intemperance and indecency 
reflecting on the Bench and bar. So far as they related to me 
they were passed over unnoticed. After sentence was pronounced 
it was intimated to him that the production of his father might 
mitigate his punishment. The result was additional censure of my 
conduct, but not the release of the old gentleman. The next 
morning a complaint was made by the Grand Jury that suspicions 
were entertained of the gaoler's intention to suffer him to escape, 
and the suspicion seemed to derive probability from George's not 
showing the smallest disposition to soften the punishment by 
liberating his father. I read the gaoler a strong lecture on the 
nature of his duty. The business was the most troublesome and 
perilous I ever experienced. I am threatened with a flaming 
memorial, to be presented at the Castle by Mr. Connolly ; but I am 
fortified by the integrity of my own mind, the legality of my pro- 


ceeclings, and by the unanimous opinion of the bar, and the appro- 
bation and applause of the entire county, so that I entirely disregard 
his menaces. This town (Galway) and county are in a thorough 
state of peace. I long sincerely for the end of my circuit, being 
heartily tired of the fatigue of it. My best wishes to Madam. 

'' Hugh Carleton." 

The Galway Assizes concluded on the 14th of April, and '* the 
judges then mounted their horses and trotted at a slapping pace to 
Ennis, accompanied by the counsellors upon well-appointed nags, 
carrying their briefs in their saddle-bags, and followed by their 
well-mounted servants, who had charge of the leathern bottles of 
wine, and all were guarded by the dragoons." Nothing occurred 
at Ennis beyond the usual routine of business. 

The committal of FitzGerald did not bring about the liberation 
of the father. After four days George Robert flung a bag full of 
silver amongst the gaolers ; and whilst they were picking it up, out 
he walked, the door being left open for his escape. He had 
possessed himself of a few cannon belonging to a Danish vessel 
that had been wrecked in Clew Ba}^, and had mounted them on a 
Danish fort near his house, on which was a watch-tower and place 
of arms, and here he had guards doing garrison duty. 

Foiled in recovering the possession of his father, and disap- 
pointed in securing and punishing his brother, Charles Lionel 
FitzGerald proceeded to Dublin to secure from the Duke of 
liutland, then Lord Lieutenant of L-eland, a military force, which 
application, after due deliberation, was granted. A Major Long- 
field was placed in command of this army, which, the commissariat 
department having been duly organized, moved westward. George 
Robert FitzGerald, hearing of the near approach of His Majesty's 
forces, taking his father with him, retreated into the County of 
Sligo, being pursued by the Mayo Volunteers under the command 
of Patrick Randal M'Donnell, who, though a solicitor, was colonel 
of the regiment. Finding himself hemmed in, George Robert, 
with a few followers, committed himself and his father in an open 
boat to the mercy of the Atlantic Ocean, and landing in a small 
island oif the bay of Sligo, he there detained his father, who dis- 
relishing his quarters, and anxious to recover his liberty, proposed 


to his son that if he paid him £3,000, and secured to him a small 
annuity for life, he would convey to him the ultimate remainder in 
fee in the estates, and exonerate him from all blame. To this pro- 
position George Kobert assented, and they proceeded to Dublin ; 
but the father, on arriving at his lodgings in Castle Street, refused 
to perfect the deeds, and set George Kobert at defiance. Thereupon 
George Robert went to lodge in College Green ; but there being a 
reward of £800 for his apprehension, he was apprehended by the 
town-major, Mr. Hall, who claimed the reward, and who for this 
act was challenged to tight a duel by Mr. Fenton, a Sligo duellist.. 
FitzGerald, now confined in Newgate, employed his mind in 
writing an appeal to the public, justifying his own conduct towards 
the aged profligate, and denouncing his brother likewise, sunk deep 
in the depths of profligacy. Having published his appeal, he 
moved for a new trial; but the motion was refused, and he must 
now prepare to sufl'er imprisonment for the residue of the term of 
his imprisonment — namely, three years. The prison life impairing 
his health, his high connections induced the Government to grant 
him a free pardon ; so he obtained his liberty, and on the night 
after his liberation he proceeded to the Theatre Royal, Crow Street ; 
and who should be in the same box but Martin of Ballinaliinch — 
he who had been counsel against him in Castlebar ? The blood of 
the FitzGeralds rose in his veins^ and, staring Martin, he struck 
him with his cane ; a message followed, but FitzGerald declined 
to meet him in Dublin. Soon after they accidentally met in the 
streets of Castlebar. Martin was walking arm-in-arm with his 
relative. Doctor Martin, and FitzGerald with his friend, of whom 
we have spoken, Mr. Fenton. Martin, remembering the blow he had 
got in Dublin, called on George Robert to draw. This he refused to 
do in the street, because he was lame; upon which Colonel Martin 
lifted his cane to strike him ; but FitzGerald cried out that he was 
ready to fight him in a proper place. So in the barrack square, 
and with the leave and licence of the commanding officer, the 
combatants met. The first round neither was wounded ; but on 
the second Martinis shot hit George Robert. Stunned for a 
moment, he then took deliberate aim, and firing, exclaimed, " Hit 
for a thousand." And so he was. Martin, w^ounded, cried out, "Vm 
done for," and was conveyed to the house of Doctor Lindsay. The 



author of tlie " Connauglit Legends " (Mr. Archdeacon) tells the 
conclusion of this affair as follows : — 

^* Doctor Lindsay was just after having dressed his patient, and 
given the usual exhortations to rest and quietness, when, to his 
utter astonishment, FitzGerald entered the apartment, saying, with 
the most perfect sangfroid, 'Well, Lindsay, how does your patient 
get on ?^ * FitzGerald,' responded the doctor in an angry tone, 'this 
is most extraordinary, and I must say a most unbecoming place for 
you to visit at present.' ' Pooh ! never mind, Lindsay,' said the 
unabashed duellist, crossing the room and opening the curtains on 
which the patient rested ; ' Martin, my dear fellow, how do you 
feel?' The colonel opened his eyes, and muttered something 
unintelligible. * Well, my dear fellow, keep yourself quiet ; don't 
agitate yourself; it is a mere scratch, I understand, not worth a fig. 
Keep yourself perfectly quiet — I always do in such a case — and you'll 
be as sound as a trout in a few days. Good morning, Lindsay; 
see that my friend be kept undisturbed ; nothing like rest for a 
scratch. Good morning;' and turning on his heel, he departed 
with the same coolness with which he had entered/^ 

Let us now turn to Patrick Eandal McDonnell, one of the chief 
actors in these strange scenes. He was the son of a Mr. Alexander 
McDonnell, a Koman Catholic gentleman, who, on his marriage, 
had entailed his property on his eldest son, reserving to himself 
merely a life interest — a settlement which bound him hand and 
foot, and which prevented him of course from raising money, except 
upon his life estate. Now, one of the most dissolute and profligate 
men in the Province of Connaught was this Alexander McDonnell. 
His son, Patrick Kandal, of whom we speak, stood of course in the 
way of his unmeasured self-indulgence, and he, therefore, conceived 
an intense hatred towards him. He refused him, even when a boy, 
the common advantages of his birth, denied him any education, 
and, though not making a direct attempt on his life, sought, by 
privation and hardships, to break the spirit of the child and bring 
him to an early grave. To these cruel deeds he was further 
instigated by the fact, that the boy had been bequeathed, by the 
will of an uncle, a property of about three hundred pounds a-year. 
In order, then, to enable him to sell this property, which was more 
manageable than an entailed estate, he secured the will and drove 


his son from his house ; and lest any of his relations should give 
him shelter, he represented him as incorrigible, wicked, and per- 
verse. But this did not deter his maternal uncle, Mr. Patrick 
FitzGerald, of Castlebar, from receiving and rearing him as his 
own child, giving him a suitable education, and binding him to an 
attorney. Perhaps he was induced to give him this profession, the 
better to enable him to recover the property which Mr. FitzGerald 
knew had been devised to him, but which was now withheld, and 
(its value having been depreciated) was disposed of to a person who 
had the hardihood to purchase it. Patrick Kandal McDonnell, on 
coming of age, set at once to work to recover this estate ; but, for 
a time, no shred of evidence could be found of his uncle's will. He 
searched in vain, until at length he received an anonymous letter, 
informing him that it had been placed by his father in the posses- 
sion of the purchaser of the estate. Resolved to obtain the in- 
strument by any means, he contrived to get into the purchaser's 
house when he was from home, broke open the box in which it was 
kept, and carried off the will. Outrageous at this conduct, the 
father swore an information against his son, who was brought to 
trial at the Ballinrobe Assizes of 1778, for burglary, and was 
acquitted, and who filed a bill against the purchaser of the estate, 
and showed that he had knowingly purchased the lands under 
fraudulent circumstances ; and the Lord Chancellor gave P. R. 
McDonnell a decree putting him into instant possession. This 
property was in the immediate vicinity of Turlough, the mansion 
and estate of George Robert FitzGerald. Mr. McDonnell, proud 
of the manner in which he had succeeded, called his residence (in 
token of gratitude to the Court of Chancery) Chancery Hall. 

Young McDonnelFs fame now preceded him : wherever he went 
through the County of Mayo, he became the redresser of injuries, 
the protector of tenants, the scourge of landlords ; he was a knight- 
errant of the eighteenth century. Popularity with one party, and 
hostility from the other, were the natural results of his conduct. 
Amongst those hostile to him was George Robert FitzGerald. 

Now, this hostility began almost as soon as FitzGerald, about 
to take possession of his property, had set his foot on Mayo soil. 
He was the guest on that occasion of Mr. Patrick FitzGerald, son 
of the Patrick of whom we have already spoken, and was enter- 


tained by him with the hospitality for which the west of Ireland 
was so renowned. Nevertheless he offended his host, by refusing 
to grant him the renewal of a lease. The minds, too, of these 
men were uncongenial ; both were men of ability and learn- 
ing, both generous in their way, both possessed of much that make 
men popular. But two suns cannot shine in the same heaven. 
Brave and daring, FitzGerald, indeed, possessed one superiority 
over his antagonist, independent of his rank and of his polished 
manners — he was an affectionate husband, and, twice married, he 
had been beloved by both his wives; while infidelity to the marriage 
tie was one of McDonnell's besetting sins. Over and over again 
McDonnell had proved himself more than a match for FitzGerald, 
when he chanced to catch him within the meshes of the law; 
skilled in the law, he was too clever an antagonist for the unpractised 
country gentleman. Accordingly, in self-defence, and to retaliate 
on a foe from whom he had suffered many defeats, FitzGerald 
looked about for an ally, and not finding any Irishman able and 
willing to throw in his lot with him, he invited an English 
attorney, named Timothy Brecknock, to be his law adviser and 
companion ; and within the compass of the British Isles he could 
not have selected a more extraordinary or a more dangerous 

Timothy Brecknock, son of the Protestant Bishop of St. David's, 
had been a student of Jesus College, Oxford, and of one of the 
English Inns of Court, for he was destined in early life for the bar. 
He changed his mind, however, and finally became an attorney— a 
profession to which he was a disgrace, for he gloried in tricks, in 
falsehoods, and in evasions unworthy of either of the great branches 
into which the profession of the law is divided. And yet Brecknock 
was a man of ability, and of great dexterity in the defence of 
prisoners; and as his misguided abilities were the cause of the 
ruin of George Kobert FitzGerald, and of his own, we shall turn 
back for a moment and relate a strange passage or two connected 
with his early career. 

A man had been committed to the Old Bailey for a highway 
robbery ; and there was every reason to believe, not only from the 
credibility of the person who swore the information, but also from 
his bearing, his acquaintances, and the conscious recognitions of 


others in the prison, that the man was one of the gentlemen of the 
road. Accordingly Brecknock waited on him, and, stating that he 
was ready to become his adviser, required, as the first step towards 
extricating him, that he would honestly confess the whole trans- 
action ; which the fellow at once did. 

He said that he had stopped a gentleman, travelling in his 
chariot, at half after eleven at night ; that he robbed him of thirty- 
seven guineas ; that as it was a bright moonlight night, he had 
taken the precaution of wearing a crape mask, but that it unfortu- 
nately fell off when in the act of forcing open the chariot door, and 
he was apprehensive that one or both of the gentleman's servants 
had marked his features ; that after he had effected the robbery 
he rode off, winding down a lane, but, by-and-by, heard himself 
pursued, and found that the coachman had mounted one of the 
carriage horses, and was stoutly following him ; that he did not 
like to fire any shots, for fear of raising the country, and therefore 
hurried on, but at length came to where the lane terminated, and 
was forced to ride his mare at a paling, which she leaped in good 
style ; that when the coachman attempted to follow, his draft 
horse balked, and so he was safe ; but, as he was in the middle of 
a well enclosed demesne, he thought it better to dismount and 
escape to London on foot — which he accordingly did, and, to his 
great surprise, found that his mare had made her way home as well 
as himself, and was standing at the stable door ; that, five weeks 
after the robbery, he ventured to ride the same mare through 
Whitechapel, where he was recognised by^the footman, arrested, 
and committed to prison. This was the substance of his con- 
fession. "Well," said Brecknock, ''have you any money?" 
"Yes.'' ''How much?'' "Oh, about ^100, which I have 
secreted about my person." " Well," said his counsel, " give me 
at once £80. I won't tell you what I will do with it ; it is not, 
be assured, to put in my own pocket. I ask nothing from you till 
you are acquitted, which I am sure will be the case. There is 
plenty of time for me to prepare your defence. It won't be by an 
alibi. Make yourself easy; your neck is safe." 

Accordingly, when the day of trial came, though the witnesses 
swore unhesitatingly to the identity of the prisoner — inasmuch as 
they recognised both him and his horse by the light of the moon— 




Brecknock broke down their evidence by producing Eyder's 
Almanack, the best authority of the kind then, which being 
handed up to the Bench and jury, he pointed to the fact that the 
moon did not rise until three o'clock in the morning, just three 
hours and a half after the robbery had been committed. The 
result of this exposure was that the judge charged in favour of the 
prisoner ; the jury, without a moment's delay, acquitted him, and 
he was discharged instantly from the dock. 

The way in which Brecknock managed this acquittal spoke 
well, at least, for his ingenuity. With the money furnished by his 
client, he had got a new edition of Ryder's Almanack printed, 
exactly like the one published, in which nothing but the year's 
lunations were changed ; and he, moreover, had taken the precau- 
tion to have half-a-dozen copies distributed through the court, to 
be ready for inspection in case anyone expressed a doubt of the 
exactitude of the one handed to the jury. A few days afterwards 
the Recorder detected the imposition ; but the highwayman was 
acquitted and on the road, and the solicitor, of course, was not 
answerable for the misprints of an almanack.^ 

"* As a specimen of the ingenuity and ability of this person, we may as 
well give his speech on the trial : — 

" My Lords, and Gentlemen of the Jury, 

' ' I have not the least doubt on my mind that this man is innocent, 
though he stands here under very untoward circumstances — inasmuch as 
though he was in bed, and at home at his lodgings at the time the robbery 
was committed, yet he can prove the fact on no other testimony than that of 
his wife (and I know what little regard is paid to the testimony of wives 
witnessing for their husbands), and of a child five years of age, who is too 
young to be admitted to take an oath. Moreover, I do not seek to imi)each 
the veracity of the prosecutor ; his character is too well established. I say 
I have not the least doubt of the fact of his being robbed in the way sworn 
to ; nor do I attempt to controvert the circumstance of the coachman follow- 
ing the robber ; still I rest confident that the prisoner at the bar is not the 
person who committed the robbery. With respect to the identity of the 
horse, I feel that that is quite out of the question, and will assert that a 
horse seen by night cannot be easily known by daylight, and at the distance 
of five weeks. There is scarcely an instance of a horse so singularly marked 
that others cannot be found marked likewise ; and, as a proof, there are now 
four horses which the sheriflf has been good enough to allow me to have at 
hand ; they are in the Old Bailey yard, standing together with the prisoner's 


Before proceeding further we have to bring on the stage another 
individual connected with the fate of this wild man. This was 
Andrew Craig, or, as he was called in Mayo, Scotch Andrew. He 
was an intelligent young fellow, and early in life had been appren- 
ticed to a blacksmith, but, disliking all restraint, ran away from 
his master, after having acquired a very superficial knowledge of 
farriery, of which notwithstanding he availed himself so well that 
he was frequently employed in the capacity of stable boy, groom, 
and jockey. He had been in the employment of several families in 
the North of Ireland, and thence passed into the service of George 
Kobert FitzGerald, who perceived in him a daring boldness, a 
savage ferocity, a temper that would lead him to anything, however 
cruel, and an insatiable thirst for blood. 

Having thus told who the leading characters in FitzGerald's 
service were, we shall now proceed with our narrative. 

horse, of which the witnesses for the prosecution are so very certain ; and if 
the three witnesses agree in selecting separately the prisoner's horse from 
the rest, I will acquiesce in his guilt. But, my Lords, and Gentlemen of 
the Juiy, I have more to urge in respect of the alleged identity of the man". 
The prosecutor, no doubt, is impelled by a love of justice ; but this love 
carries a man sometimes into an extremity of zeal. The coachman may also 
have a love for justice ; but, when it is taken into consideration that the 
conviction of the prisoner will entitle him to a reward of £40, the Court and 
Jury may be disposed to look with jealousy on his testimony as interested in 
the conviction. The footman, having heard some particulars sworn to by 
the prosecutor and his fellow-servant, may believe what they say to be so 
true as to join in the same story. The three witnesses all have deposed that 
they remember the prisoner's face from having seen it so clearly at the time 
of the robbery, by means of the strong light of the moon. Now, I have one 
witness that will undoubtedly set aside even this concurrence of evidence. 
It is, indeed, an uninterested witness — a silent witness — yet one that will 
speak home to the conviction of the whole Jury — it is Ryder's Almanack ! ! ! 
Yes, my Lords on the Bench, and ye. Gentlemen of the Jury, I pass this 
almanack into your hands, and thereby you will see at once how utterly 
impossible it was that the witnesses could have so seen the prisoner by the 
light of the moon ; for you will observe that, on the night of this robbery, 
namely, the eighteenth of October, the moon did not rise until sixteen 
minutes after three in the morning ; consequently, it could not have given 
light at half-past eleven. And if the witnesses are found to be mistaken in 
such a capital point of their evidence, no part of it can aflFect the prisoneri 
My Lords and Gentlemen, I rest assured of his acquittal." 


It appears that shortly before the 21st of February, 1786, 
Patrick Randal McDonnell was passing close to Turlough, from 
Castlebar to Chancery Hall, when he was fired at and wounded in 
the leg. Escaping, however, with his life, he swore informations 
against a retainer of FitzGerald's^ named Murphy_, who was accord- 
ingly arrested and confined in gaol, but who was finally discharged 
without having been brought to trial. And now it came to Fitz- 
Gerald^s turn to act. Taking Murphy's case in hand, he caused 
informations to be drawn up and sworn before Mr. O'Malley, a 
magistrate, against McDonnell and others, for an assault committed 
on Murphy, and upon these informations he procured warrants for 
the committal of the parties accused ; but these warrants could not 
be executed for some time, owing to McDonneirs taking the pre- 
caution of confining himself to his house in Castlebar. At length 
he ventured to Chancery Hall, and on his return the same evening 
he was seized by FitzGerald's men, and brought, together with his 
followers, Hipson and Gallagher, prisoners to Turlough House, 
where he was kept until the following morning, when the three 
were sent forward towards the gaol of Castlebar under a strong 
escort of FitzGerald's men, of whom Scotch Andrew was the 
leader. McDonnell was mounted, and a man led his horse, while 
Gallagher and Hipson were tied together. Not far from Turlough, 
and while passing along the park, shots were fired from the other 
side of the wall at a place called Gurtnefullagh. The cry of a 
rescue was at once raised by FitzGerald's part}^, and then, by the 
orders of Scotch Andrew, the prisoners were fired upon. Hipson 
fell dead on the spot, and McDonnell was wounded in the arm. 
Scotch Andrew then came up, and McDonnell, in piercing tones, 
implored of him to spare his life, and promised him in return one 
hundred acres of the greenest land on his estate. " Remember, 
Andrew," said he, ** life is all I ask — life — life — and jou will re- 
collect this blessed act when you yourself are dying.''^ 

" If you were my mother," replied the fiend, '' you shall have 
the contents of this,'' at the same instant discharging both barrels, 
the muzzles of which all but touched the body of the unhappy man. 
In a moment McDonnell lay dead at his feet. Gallagher, the 
other prisoner, was slightly wounded, and was afterwards taken to 
Turlough House. Now all this, it was said, was done by the 


advice of Brecknock, who foresaw that McDonnell's friends would 
come out from the town, but three miles off, and would rescue him 
out of their hands ; and he, from some confused notion of the law, 
advised that, if the prisoners were in custody of the law, the guard 
were justified in shooting them in case of an attempted rescue; 
and he read, or is said to have read, to FitzGerald, in support of 
this proposition, an extract out of some book on criminal law. 
Like wildfire the report of the murders spread upon all sides. Im- 
mediately the troops of the line, then quartered in Castlebar, and 
the volunteers, came out furiously to Turlough, some of them re- 
maining outside, while others entered the house to search and 
pillage it. Brecknock and a man named Fulton, who had acted in 
the capture of McDonnell, were at once taken, but after a diligent 
and fruitless search the volunteers were beginning to think that 
Fitz Gerald must have effected his escape before their arrival, when 
one of them, forcing open a clothes chest in a lower apartment, dis- 
covered him among a heap of bedclothes. He was seized and 
dragged out, and a scuffle ensued, one party endeavouring to mur- 
der him, and the other to drag him to justice. All the accused 
were at length arrested except Scotch Andrew, who escaped for the 
time, but was taken afterwards near Dublin. 

On the same night FitzGerald was hurried to the gaol of Castle- 
bar, and, alone in his cell, was guarded on the outside at first by 
two soldiers, one of whom, however, was, by the orders of Mr. 
Clarke, the Sub- Sheriff", soon withdrawn. This, it was said, was 
done with a purpose, for immediately on his withdrawal the prison 
doors were burst open, and a number of men^ armed with pistols 
and sword-canes, and the musket of the sentinel, whom they had 
overpowered, attacked FitzGerald in a furious and deadly manner, 
who, though totally unarmed, made a most extraordinary and des- 
perate defence. Several shots were discharged at him, one of which 
was lodged in his leg, while some of his assailants thrust at him 
with blades and bayonets, though he was then collared by Gallagher 
(who had so narrowly escaped being massacred with McDonnell) 
and struggling in his grasp. His front teeth were knocked out, 
and after he had shaken off Gallagher by great exertions, he was 
next assaulted with the musket-stock, with pistol butts, and with 
the candlestick, which had been seized by one of the assailants. 

134 MAYO ASSIZES, 1786. 

who gave the candle to a boy to hold. By one of the blows he was 
prostrated under the table, and while lying there, still defending 
himself, he exclaimed, '' Cowardly rascals, you may desist. You 
have now done for me, which was, of course, your object." The 
candle had been by this time quenched in the struggling, and the jail 
and streets were thoroughly alarmed, so that the assailants, fearing 
to injure one another, and deeming that their intended victim was 
duly despatched, and perhaps fearful of detection, retreated from 
the prison, leaving FitzGerald, though wounded, once more in 
security. In his informations respecting this transaction, he 
accused five individuals principally, namely, John Gallagher, Dr. 
Martin, Charles and Luke Higgins, and Daniel Clarke. Of An- 
drew Gallagher he could say nothing except what was good. But 
others were concerned in the attack whom he did not know. 

The whole country was filled with amazement at the doings then 
done in Mayo, and men looked forward with the deepest anxiety to 
the assizes, which were still two months distant. A Special Com- 
mission even was suggested at the Privy Council as the surest method 
to put a stop at once and for ever to crimes that were a disgrace to 
the very name of civilization. On the 10th of March the judges 
were appointed for their several circuits, and Chief Baron Yelver- 
ton and Baron Power were the judges named for the Connaught 
Circuit. Both were men of great eminence. Of Barry Yelverton, 
better known as Lord Avonmore, it was said by some that his 
qualities were not those of a good judge, for he received impres- 
sions too soon, and perhaps too strongly ; that he was indolent in 
research and impatient in discussion ; and yet it was said by others 
" that he was amply qualified for the Bench by profound legal and 
constitutional learning, by extensive professional practice, by strong 
logical powers, by a classical and wide-ranging capacity, by equit- 
able propensities, and a philanthropic disposition, and that he pos- 
sessed all the positive qualities of a great judge.^^ ^ As an orator 
he was the rival of Flood, Grattan, Hussey Burgh, and Curran ; 
perhaps in the command of powerful and nervous language he was 
superior to them all.^ Bichard Power was an excellent lawyer, but 
was far from being an orator ; he was morose and fat, very learned, 

* Wills's " Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished Irishmen," Vol. v., p. 239. 

* Sir Jonah Barrington's " Personal Sketches," Vol. i,, p. 257. 




very rich, and very ostentatious, but of that melancholy turn of 
mind which in after years caused him to commit suicide. 

The judges were to arrive at Castlebar on the evening of Satur- 
day, the 8th of April. Early on that morning great multitudes 
went out to meet them, for in those times it was customary for all 
who could afford either time or blood horses to ride ten or twelve 
miles to welcome His Majesty^s judges and the bar *' coming in ; " 
for " the coming in of the judges " was then an event spoken of for 
many weeks both before and after the assizes. Though still an 
event, it has nothing of the scenic effect that distinguished it in 
former days. At present, from the facility of railway travelling, 
each separate member of the bar can repair, as an unconnected in- 
dividual, to the place of legal rendezvous. This has more conveni- 
ence, but less of popular eclat. In the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries, however, both judges and barristers travelled the Circuit 
on horseback, and, for safety and pleasure, kept together on the 
road. The holsters in front of the saddle were filled with loaded 
pistols, the outside coat was strapped in a roll behind^ while 
the dragoon-like regularity of pace at which they advanced gave 
the party a certain military appearance. The servants followed, 
mounted like their masters, and watchful of the saddle-bags, which, 
containing the Circuit wardrobe and Circuit library, dangled from 
their horses^ flanks. A posse of fellows too, well mounted, bearing 
wine and other luxuries, followed close behind. At the head of 
this nomadic caravan rode the High Sheriff of the county with his 
halberdmen, armed with javelins, which they grasped in the centre, 
while a troop of horse brought up the rear. " In troth this was a 
goodly sight, and great was the deference and admiration with 
which they were honoured at every stage ; and when they ap- 
proached the assize town, the gentlemen of the Grand Jury and all 
the people of quality were wont to come five or six miles to bid them 
welcome. And when they met, the greetings and congratulations 
and friendly reciprocities were conducted on both sides in a tone of 
cordial vociferation that is now extinct. For the counsellor of that 
day was no formalist, neither had too much learning attenuated his 
frame, nor prematurely quenched his animal spirits; but he was 
portly and vigorous, and laughed in a hearty roar,^ and loved to 

* Monsieur Guillaume Durand, in his directions to a " Counsellor how to 


feel good claret disporting through his veins, and would any day 
prefer a fox chase to a special retainer ; and all this in no way de- 
tracted from his professional repute, seeing that all his competitors 
were even as he was, and that juries in those times were more 
gullible than now, and judges less learned and inflexible, and tech- 
nicalities less regarded or understood, and motions in arrest of judg- 
ment less thought of. The conscience of the counsellor being ever 
at ease, when he felt his client was going to be hanged, upon the 
plain and obvious principles of common sense and natural justice, 
so that circuit and circuit business was a recreation to him ; and 
each day through the assizes he was feasted and honoured by the 
oldest families of the county, and he had ever the place of dignity 
beside the host, and his flashes of merriment (for the best things 
said in those days were said by counsellors) set the table in a roar, 
and he could sing, and would sing a jovial song, too ; and if asked, 
he would discourse gravely and pithily of public afl'airs, being 
deeply versed in State concerns ; and, perhaps, a member of the 
House of Commons; and when he spoke, he spoke boldly, and as 
one not fearing interruption or dissent, and what he said was re- 
ceived and treasured up by his admiring audience as oracular reve- 
lations of the fate of kingdoms until the next assizes. Few country 
gentlemen would enter into an argument with the counsellors, who 
were ready at any moment to take any or either side of any ques- 
tion extempore, and divide it into three distinct points of view, and 
bring a half dozen knock-down arguments to bear upon each." ^ 

On the following day, Sunday, the Church of Castlebar was 
filled to overflowing, for in those days the Bench, the bar, and the 
Grand Jury were all, nominally at least, Protestants ; and it was 
generally the ablest divine that was invited to preach the Assizes 

behave himself," directs, that "the counsellor should be in court early 
in the morning before the arrival of the judge ; that he should address 
some other counsellor on the other side of the court in loud tones before the 
crowd, wishing him a ' good morning ; ' that he should then look round as 
if it were in defiance, and laugh at some saying of another counsellor aloud ; 
that on the entry of the judge, he should remove his cap, and make an 
obeisance proportioned to the dignity of the judge ; that he should be seen 
whispering the judge when he would leave the court." — "Preface to Year 
Books, tempore Edw. I." 

Curran's " Sketches of the Irish Bar," Vol i., p. 274. 



sermon. Accordingly, it was arranged on this occasion that the 
Hon. and Most Rev. Dr. Burke, Protestant Archbishop of Tuam, 
should on the " Assizes Sunday" occupy the pulpit of the church 
of Castlobar ; and glad was the rector to have obtained the services 
of so eminent a preacher, on an occasion when a Yelverton, a 
FitzGibbon, a Blossett, and a Stanley were to be present. It 
was arranged that the Archbishop was to arrive at the church 
at half-past eleven o'clock, half an hour previous to the commence- 
ment of the service. But, alas ! no Archbishop came; he had 
been taken suddenly ill the night before, and within five minutes 
of twelve a messenger in breathless haste from the Palace of 
Tuam arrived to announce that the rector must himself preach 
the sermon. Now, the rector, even if he had prepared for the 
occasion, was at best a bad speaker ; and in this instance — 
worse still — he had had no preparation. Alas, thought he, how 
they that sleep in death are to be envied ! Big drops of per- 
spiration were rolling in his agony of despair adown his face. 
There before him sat the judges in their judicial robes ; there 
was the Attornej-General ; there the whole strength of the bar ; 
and he, wretch that he was, who was in the habit of address- 
ing only a country congregation, never numbering more than 
five-and-twentj^ was now to preach to so numerous and so 
critical a congregation. But near the altar was one whose black 
dress and white cravat betokened that he was a clergyman. The 
rector recognised him, for they had been fellow-students at an 
English University, and he was now in Castlebar, with many 
others, to hear the trial of George Robert FitzGerald. The rector, 
on chance, pencilled a note to his quondam friend, begging of him 
to ascend the pulpit and make the most of the occasion. For 
aught he knew, his friend might have preached " Assizes sermons " 
before ; but whether this be so or not, the reply was in the affirma- 
tive, and he retired to the vestry, while there was yet time, to 
string together something worthy of the occasion. At last the 
moment came, and he ascended the pulpit to the great joy of the 
man who was fortunate in having escaped so much misfortune. 
The preacher gave out, from the 7th chapter of the Gospel of St. 
Luke, the following text : — 

" But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel of God 


against themselves." The applicability and the severity of the 
text enchained the attention of his hearers. He showed how 
the Jewish lawyers had heaped uncertainty and obscurity upon the 
laws that were given to Moses in Horeb, and how their conduct 
had drawn down upon them the rebuke of the great Lawgiver of 
the New Law, when He addressed them in the memorable words, 
*' Woe to you, lawyers." And yet, he said, there w^ere great lawyers 
in the old times amongst the Jews ; need he remind his hearers 
that the commentaries on the Mishna and the Gemara, being the 
two divisions of the Talmud, were from the pens of the great 
Hebrew lawyers. He briefly alluded to Tribonian and his con- 
nection with the immortal code of the great Justinian, and 
showed how that code had been preferred by the ecclesiastical 
lawyers of the middle ages to our own common law, and how it 
formed the basis of the laws of France, Spain, Holland, Belgium, 
and of many of the most polished countries in the world. From 
the civil to the canon law of the Church of Rome there was only a 
step. To the canon law lawyers the world is deeply indebted : 
for almost all the forms in lay courts which contribute to 
establish, and continue to preserve, order in judicial proceedings^ 
are borrowed from the canon law. And he showed how, with- 
out fee or reward, nominally at least, the ecclesiastical lawyers 
argued their clients^ causes. He (the preacher) often in former 
years had watched the stuff-gown lawyers in the courts of West- 
minster Hall, wearing the habit of the monk, for their gowns 
were ecclesiastical robes ; and he had thought of times gone 
by, when the lawyer-monks carried the open purse over their 
left shoulders, slung from a broad tape, into which the satisfied 
clients were wont stealthily to drop golden pieces as a grateful 
honorarium. That purse is now closed, but it is still slung, 
as in times past, over the left shoulder of every stuff-gown 
lawyer. Inscribed on the Calendar of the Roman Saints, were 
the names of lawyers, however few. There was St. Swithin, 
Lord High Chancellor of England ; and there was St. Evona, a 
lawyer, to whose name was dedicated a chapel in Rome ; who, 
deploring that the profession to which he belonged had no patron 
saint, made a pilgrimage to Rome, there to entreat the Pope to give 
the lawyers of Brittany a patron. His Holiness replied that he knew 


of no saint that was not disposed of to other professions ; at which 
the suppliant grew sad, and begged him to think of one. At last the 
Pope proposed to St. Evona that he should go round the Church of 
St. John Lateran blindfold, and after he had said so many Paters 
and Aves, that the first saint he laid hold on should be his 
patron ; which the good man willingly undertook, and at the end of 
his Paters, he stopped at St. Michael's altar, where he laid hold 
(oh, too shocking to contemplate) not on St. Michael, but on the 
devil under St. MichaeFs feet, and crying out at the same time, 
" This is our patron; let this be our patron." So being unblindfolded, 
and seeing what he had done, he returned homewards and died ; 
and so the bar of Brittany remains unhallowed amongst the profes- 
sions even to this hour. [Here one of the judges appeared strug- 
gling with laughter.] Colouring deeply, the very reverend and 
angry preacher would remind them that there were wicked judges 
in the old times before us ; and our Saviour, in St. Luke's Gospel, 
chapter xviii., speaks of a "judge in a certain city, who feared not 
God and regarded not man.^^ But he thanked God that those of their 
day strictly obeyed the laws that were given them to observe. And 
he showed how there were great judges in Israel, even from the 
days of Joshua, the son of Nun, who was filled with wisdom, to the 
days of Saul. The glories of being a righteous judge won for 
Solomon the fear and the love of the children of Israel, '' for they 
saw the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment.'^ He then 
reminded them that the very robes they wore were sacred — that 
the scarlet and the violet had been the colours worn by the judges 
ever since the robes of Aaron were transferred to Eleazar, his son 
and successor; that the ermine tippet had descended on the chief 
judges from the Chancellors of the Roman Church, who took it 
from the tribe of Levi, and that the ermine mantle had always 
been regarded as typical of purity. He called on them to remem- 
ber that they were not to be led away by the allurements of power, 
and that there was once a Chief Justice in England, Chief Justice 
Gascoigne, in the old Catholic times, who dared to commit the 
Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V., to prison for having been 
guilty of a contempt of his sacred person. He would not speak of 
the "bribe-devouring judges of Hesiod," nor of Bacon (Lord 
Verulam), but he would point to the unstained purity of the ermine 



in Ireland, and he prayed God to give wisdom to the wise. Lastly, 
he reminded them that the highest reward prepared for the twelve 
apostles hereafter is to sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve 
tribes of Israel. Such was the sermon preached, and so was the 
rector saved. 

On the following day the Commission was opened by the Lord 
Chief Baron and Mr. Baron Power. The Grand Jury were called to 
the box, Sir Neal O'Donel, of Newport, being their foreman, and 
true bills were immediately found against the six rioters who were 
accused of having assaulted George Robert FitzGerald, as before 
described, in the gaol of Castlebar, on the 21st of February, 1786. 
Their names, occupations, and residences respectively were : — 
Andrew Gallagher, apothecary ; John Gallagher, coroner ; James 
Martin, m.d. ; Edward Martin, gentleman ; Luke Higgins, tanner, 
all of Castlebar; and Charles Higgins, gentleman, of Westport. 
The Grand Jury also found true bills against George Robert Fitz- 
Gerald, Timothy Brecknock, and others, for the wilful murder of 
Patrick Randal McDonnell and Charles Hipson, on the 21st of 
Februar}^, 1786. An application was immediately made by counsel 
to postpone the trials on the ground that George Robert FitzGerald 
was unable, owing to the wounds he had received in the riotous 
assault in gaol, to stand his trial. The application was granted, 
and the trials were postponed accordingly, until the 7th of June. 

On the 6th of June following, the judges arrived at Castlebar, 
and, at the proper time, they opened the Court pursuant to ad- 
journment ; the trials of the Higginses, Martins, and Gallaghers 
were at once proceeded with. They were all, however, speedily 
acquitted, on the alleged ground of discrepancy between FitzGerald's 
first and second sworn examinations, as well as because an alibi 
had been clearly proved for each. A loud expression of joy burst 
from the thronging crowd. 

The counsel for the prosecution were the Attorney-General, 
Messrs. James O'Hara, Francis Patterson, and St. George Daly. 
Counsel for the prisoners, Messrs. John Blossett, George Joseph 
Browne, and James D'Arcy. 



Trial of George Kobert FitzGerald and 
Timothy Brecknock. 

On the lOtli of June, the trial of George Robert FitzGerald 
commenced. Chief Baron Yelverton and Baron Power ascended 
the Bench, and a jury was sworn. The Attorney- General, and 
Messrs. O'Hara, Patterson, Richard Martin, Ulick Burke, and St. 
George Daly were counsel for the Crown ; while Messrs. Stanley, 
Colbeck, D'Arcy, and Kirwan defended the prisoners. 

FitzGerald was arraigned, *' for that he, with another, not hav- 
ing the fear of God before their eyes, but being moved by the insti- 
gation of the devil, did, on the 21st of February, 1786, of his 
malice prepense, wilfully, traitorously, and feloniously j^roro/cc, stir 
up, and procure one Andrew Craig and a number of others (some 
of them at present unknown) to slay and murder one Patrick 
Randal McDonnell, and one Charles Hipson, then and there 
subjects of the King, and who, by the aforesaid provocation, 
stirring up, and procurement, were assaulted at Gurtnefullaghf 
with certain guns of the value of five shillings, each and every of 
the said guns being charged with gunpowder and leaden bullets, 
and several mortal wounds inflicted on them of the depth of 
four inches, and the breadth of half an inch, contrary to the peace 
of our lord the King, his crown and dignity, and against the form 
of the Statute in that case made and provided, of which mortal 
wounds they then and there instantly died," &c. 

Mr. Stanley objected to the prisoner at the bar being tried for 
provoking and stirring up others to commit murder, until these 
were first tried and found guilty of the murder. Mr. FitzGerald 
was about being tried as an accessory before the fact, and that 
before the conviction of the principal. Even in cases of high 
treason, where accessories are principals, the principal must be 
tried before the accessory, and as soon as the principal is con- 
victed, then the accessory is tried as a principal. 

The Chief Baron owned he felt some difficulty on the question, 
whether Mr. FitzGerald's offence, as laid in the indictment, was an 
accessorial offence, or a distinct and substantive one. If the latter, 
there was no objection to the trial proceeding; but if his ofleuce were 
only accessorial, then he ought not to be put on his trial until the 



principals were convicted ; and therefore he entreated the Attorney- 
General, lest any room should be left for doubt, to consent to 
discharge the jury in this case, and to try one of the principals 

The Attorney- General said that the offence for which the 
prisoner was indicted was made a distinct substantive offence. 
The Act of Henry YII. goes so far as to make the procuring 
of the death of a subject tantamount to procuring the death of 
the King. So that the accessory becomes as it were a principal 
in the same way as he would in high treason. The Act does 
not declare the crime of murder to be high treason, but attaches 
the penalties of high treason upon the persons of those who shall 
be convicted of the offence. Suppose the party committing the 
murder to be an idiot or lunatic, or suppose him not amen- 
able ; suppose that he is killed in the affray, will it be con- 
tended that the man that incited the committal of the murder 
is not to be tried at all ? But now the prisoner has been given in 
charge to the jury, and he must be either convicted or acquitted; 
and he should have made this objection before he was given in 
charge, and by permitting himself to be given in charge, he has 
waived the objection. 

The Court ruled with the Attorney- General, and the case pro- 

The Attorney-General (FitzGibbon) stated the case. The two 
important witnesses against FitzGerald and Brecknock were Andrew 
Gallagher, one of McDonnell's party, who had escaped being mur- 
dered, and Scotch Andrew, the murderer. Gallagher deposed that, 
on the night on which he (along with McDonnell and Hipson) was 
brought to Turlough, and confined in a room over the stairs, he over- 
heard, through a broken pane, FitzGerald and Brecknock conversing 
and giving directions to the men, and that one of the directions was, 
" that if they saw any rescue, or chance of a rescue, to be sure to 
shoot the prisoners and take care of them ; " that when these orders 
were given, FitzGerald said to Brecknock, *' Ha ! then we shall 
soon get rid of them now;" and Brecknock replied, " Oh! then 
we shall be easy indeed ; " and that after the guard was arranged, 
FitzGerald called out to Scotch Andrew, " Andrew Craig, be sure 
you kill them ; do not let one of the villains escape*" 


Scotch Andrew next ascended the witness table, and when this 
cold-blooded murderer made his. appearance as an approver, a 
shudder seemed to pervade the entire crowd. Nothing daunted, 
however, he gave his testimony with the coolest effrontery. He 
not only corroborated Gallagher's evidence, but also swore to the 
private directions given by the prisoner, FitzGerald, as the party 
was moving away from Turlough House. He then swore that the 
plan chalked out for his victims' destruction was this : to charge 
a gun with snipe shot, and then to send on a man with it, who 
should fire from the park wall, making no distinction between 
friend or foe, as the shot would smarten them up to their business, 
and could do little harm to their party, whilst some of them might 
think it a real rescue. This plan, he stated, was accordingly acted 
upon. He next admitted, without a shadow of remorse for the 
terrible deed, that he himself shot McDonnell through the head, as 
he lay maimed and defenceless on the bridge of Kilnecarra. 

His statement was strengthened by the evidence of another of 
the accomplices, as well as by that of the magistrates, who had 
taken his voluntary confession. 

For the defence, three warrants, signed by Mr. Bollingbroke, j.p., 
and Mr. O'Malley, j.p., against McDonnell, Hipson, and others, and 
directed to one William Fulton specially, were put in evidence, 
with a view to show that the murdered men had been legally in the 
custody of Fulton. 

The Rev. Mr. Henry, the Presbyterian minister of Turlough, 
now came forward to prove what he was pleased to designate the 
insolence of Gallagher and Hipson on their being arrested and 
conveyed to Turlough. He also swore that accommodation and 
refreshments were offered to them, and that although he was up 
early on the morning of what he termed the accident, he had heard 
no directions given to the guard. 

He was followed by a man named Love, whose testimony was 
that he saw about twelve armed followers of McDonnell inside a 
wall adjoining GurtnefuUagh, early on the fatal morning, and 
that he heard them state, as he lay hidden behind a thorn bush, 
that if McDonnell came, they would soon free him by shooting 
FitzGerald. As for George Eobert FitzGerald or Brecknock, they 
were not present at the murder at all. 


The defence closed, and the Chief Baron charged the jury in a 
manner that reflects but little of credit on his memory. He was 
followed by Baron Power, whose great information as a criminal 
lawyer gave somewhat of weight to every remark that fell from 
him in his charge. Suffice it here to say, that the Bench con- 
ducted the trial with little or no dignity, and that FitzGibbon, the 
Attorney- General, surpassed himself in acerbity and flippancy. 
On one occasion he so far forgot himself, or rather his station, 
as to call Mr. Stanley (the leading counsel for Fitzgerald) 
Mr. Tautology Puzzlepate. Stanley retorted ; and the law lost 
much of its dignity when two such men — two leaders in the pro- 
fession — were allowed thus to exercise their wit in the presence of 
the representatives of justice, at that awful moment when the grave 
was yawning beneath a fellow- creature. 

It was eleven o'clock at night on Friday, the 9th of June, when 
the jury retired to consider their verdict ; and yet so absorbing was 
the interest felt in the trial, that the court-lights still showed a 
throng of faces, pale indeed and wearied, but wearing an expres- 
sion of intense eagerness for its issue, such as they exhibited at its 

FitzGerald saw the jury retire, and, for the first time in his 
life, he displayed a symptom of fear. It was but for a moment. 
Instantly resuming his confidence of expression, and bowing to 
some persons whom he recognised in the Court, he leaned back 
with apparent composure to await the return of the jury. They 
detained him but a short time, and in less than a quarter of an 
hour came back with a verdict of guilty. 

On hearing this, which was received with dead silence, he 
bowed to the Court, and was conveyed with a firm step back to 

Brecknock on the next day was put on his trial ; the old man 
fell on his knees in the dock, and prayed for comfort from Heaven. 
The case against him was, that it was he who had advised George 
Robert FitzGerald to entrap McDonnell and Hipson into his power 
by means of the warrants granted for their arrest, and that it was 
he who had planned the mock rescue, and had advised that 
McDonnell and his party should be shot if a rescue were attempted. 
The jury found the wretched man guilty, with a recommendation 



to mercy on account of his advanced years. But the Chief Baron 
held out no hope, and was even severe upon him in passing sen- 
tence. " Unfortunate old man/' said he, " happy had it heen for 
3'ou that you had never known law at all, or that you had known it 
better. But for your advice, the gentleman now at your side would 
not have been brought to the wretched situation in which he 
stands, or to the dreadful end which must now await him. Miser- 
able man, you are fallen a victim to your own subtleties, and 
become the dupe of your own cunning. The venerable appearance 
you have assumed, and the sanctity you affect, I fear are but a 
disguise for your wickedness. The law, which you endeavoured to 
pervert, has furnished the detection of your crime, and will shortly 
award the punishment which attends your conviction. Your jury, 
from a mistaken lenity, have recommended you to mercy, not that 
they doubted of your guilt, but that they pitied your age and infir- 
mities. Your crime is by many degrees of the deepest and blackest 
dye, and it only remains for me to pronounce the dreadful sen- 
tence." He then passed sentence of death on both FitzGerald and 

Now, one word on those trials. Leaving Andrew Craig's 
evidence out of the question, as the informer, who was the actual 
murderer, and whose life was saved for his information, there was 
no evidence, save that of Gallagher, to prove that FitzGerald had 
ordered the slaughter of the prisoners ; and it is extremely improb- 
able that FitzGerald and Brecknock, aware that Gallagher was in 
a room overhead, would have been so imprudent as to give such 
directions within ear-shot of him. Neither is it likely that Fulton, 
who was in that room, and must have heard these directions as 
well as Gallagher, would not have informed his employers that 
they were overheard. Moreover, a servant-maid, for the defence, 
testified that, though there was a pane of glass broken, yet the hole 
was fastened up with a board. Is it at all likely that if Gallagher 
had overheard this conspiracy to have them all shot, he would not 
have told M'Donnell and Hipson ? And would they not, all three, 
before going, as they knew they were, to certain death, have loudly 
remonstrated against being forced along to inevitable destruction ? 
It is difficult to read the trial (which was soon after published) 
without coming to the conclusion that were it to take place in the 




present day, the evidence of Gallagher would be much doubted, and 
the judge would not direct a jury to find a verdict of guilty, when 
this evidence was corroborated only by the testimony of such a 
ruffian as Craig, who, though the actual murderer himself, was left 
untried, and allowed to give his evidence against accomplices. 

FitzGerald's address, after sentence was passed on him, was 
calm, and delivered with a firm tone. He said : — 

*' I beg leave to trouble your Lordships with a few words. I shall be 
very short. I do not mean to cast blame anywhere. I accuse no one. 
From the evidence the judges could have given no other charge — the jury 
could have found no other verdict. I think the verdict of the jury a just 
one, according to the evidence produced ; but I did not think such evidence 
could have been produced. I did not think such charges could have been 
made against me, or I should have been better prepared. I had no idea of 
being found guilty. There are some family aflfairs which I have been endea- 
vouring to settle, and which in truth are not yet finished, that I could have 
wished to have completed. All that I request of your Lordships is, to give 
me the longest day possible, that I may be prepared to meet my God. How- 
ever guilty I may be conceived within a narrow circle, I hope, in a higher 
one, the unprejudiced part of the world will think me innocent : those who 
know me from my earliest life know me incapable of such an action. I 
never feared death ; nor am 1 afraid to meet it in any shape— in the most for- 
midable, even an ignominious death. It may be thought I wish to solicit 
pardon. I would not accept of pardon, after being found guilty by such a 
jury, because I know I could not face the world after it. It has been sug- 
gested, and I understand that the report prevails, that I wish for time in 
order to commit suicide. As a worldly man I never feared death ; and, as a 
Christian, which I hope I am, and a good one, what sort of a passport would 
that be to the place of eternity ? I forgive everyone ; and though I assert 
my innocence, I do not mean to say that I have no sins : I have many which 
overwhelm me, and I only request time that I may make my peace with 

The sun went down to rise no more on the criminals, who were 
informed they must die on that night. " It would appear as if the 
High Sherifi", the Crown prosecutors, and all the gentry of Mayo, 
were afraid that if there were any delay, a reprieve might have been 
procured by means of his high connections.'^^ Brecknock was 
brought out the first to the gallows, and the conduct of the old man 
was serene and dignified. Having said the Lord's prayer in Greek, 
he drew the cap over his face, and was launched into eternity. 

1 "Freeman's Journal." 


George Kobert FitzGerald, as he stood in the dock, was a 
pitiable sight ; he was arrayed meanly and without any care ; his 
coat was a stained and worn uniform of the Castletown Hunt, his 
waistcoat was soiled and unbuttoned, his stockings and shoes were 
coarse and dirty, and his hat was tied with a hempen cord. Sad 
was the contrast to the appearance he presented, when in earlier 
and happier years he had returned from the Court of France ! 
Then his figure — light, elegant, and distinguished — was set off 
with all that taste and wealth could bestow. He was then the 
envy of his own sex, the admired of the other. What a contrast, 
alas, to the spectacle of that hour ! He was next led forth ; it 
was then eleven o'clock at night. The sheriff permitted him to 
walk from the gaol to the place of execution. 

He reached the scaffold with a hurried step, and asked in an 
eager tone, " Is this the place ? " Being told that it was, he sprung 
up, shook hands rapidly with several of his former friends, who in 
his last hour stood about him, flung off his cravat, opened his 
collar, and adjusted the rope with his own hands. He then shook 
hands with the Presbyterian minister, Mr. Henry, and begged of 
him to be brief in his pra^'ers ; after joining in which for a few 
minutes, he called on the executioner to perform the office well, 
and immediately after, and rather unexpectedly, flung himself off ; 
but his sufferings were not yet ended, for the rope broke, and he 
was precipitated to the ground. Springing to his feet, he cried, " My 
life is my own.^' " No," exclaimed the Right Honourable Denis 
Browne^ ''not while there is another rope in Mayo, and you shall 
have one strong enough, and speedily too." 

Another rope was produced, and after the lapse as it were of an 
hour, which he spent in prayer, he rose to prepare for death ; it 
was then closing on midnight, and a darkness unusual in the 
month of June overspread the face of the heavens ; torrents of rain, 
which extinguished the lights, descended ; and it was with difficulty 
that those nearest to the scaffold could see the hangman adjusting 
the rope; but a vivid flash of lightning, followed by a burst of 
thunder, which rolled and reverberated from the surrounding hills, 
lightened the darkness of that dreadful night; another flash — another 
— and another revealed the last struggles of George Robert Fitz- 


His remains were interred in the family vault in the ruined 
chapel adjoining the round tower of Turlough. Charles Lionel 
Fitz Gerald, his brother, then succeeded under the entail to the 
estates, and continued to enjoy them until his death in 1805, when 
he, too, was laid in the same tomb. During those nineteen years, 
the coffin of George Kobert FitzGerald had mouldered into dust ; 
but the skeleton was left, and on his finger was his first wife's ring, 
which some time after got into the possession of a Mr. Bichey, with 
whom it remained for many years. Of those trials, if so they may 
be called, and convictions, much has been written ; and it is said to 
be the only case in the books where an accessory to a murder was 
found guilty on the evidence of the principal. That he well de- 
served his doom no man can deny. Yet it was the opinion of the 
sarcastic Judge Robinson, that " his was the case of a murderer 
murdered ! " 

And now about the Eight Honourable Denis Browne. He was 
the second brother of the third Earl of Altamont, who became first 
Marquis of Sligo. He was married to a sister of Sir Boss Mahon, 
and Sir Boss Mahon was married to his sister. When a young 
man, he is said to have been extremely handsome ; but he soon 
became corpulent, and careless and slovenly in his dress. His 
first contest for the representation of the county was with John 
Bingham, afterwards Lord Clanmorris, who was likely to succeed. 
In this dilemma he applied for advice to his uncle, James Browne, 
the Prime Sergeant, who thus, in the spirit of that age, advised 
him : " My dear Denis, there is only one remedy for you ; you 
are now one and twenty years of age, and you have never yet been 
on the sod ! Why, that one fact must lose you your election. You 
must fight, my dear boy, and that on this very evening. I believe 
you think I have nothing but law in my head ! You must knock 
down Bingham.''^ " What," replied Denis, "is it to knock down 
a man that never offended me — with whom I have no dispute? " 
** Oh, my dear fellow, that is nothing here or there.''' And so, 
following this excellent advice of his learned uncle, the Prime 
Sergeant, Denis Browne met Bingham on the steps of the court- 
house, and, without provocation of any kind, knocked him down, 
fought him in half an hour in the barrack yard, was wounded, 
excited the well-deserved sympathy of the electors, and won the 


election ! He rose rapidly into power, his brother, the Marquis, 
supporting him with all his influence and talent. The absolute 
Chancellor, Lord Clare, and his successor. Lord Kedesdale, allowed 
him to act as dictator for Mayo for many years. The judges 
might sentence criminals to prison, but if *'the Eight Honour- 
able," as he was called, wished it, the prison doors were opened, 
and the prisoner was set free. As to Grovernment patronage in 
the County of Mayo, it was entirely at his disposal ; he could give 
place, and could take it away ; and so things lasted until 1806, 
when, on the Whigs coming into power, with George Ponsonby 
as their Lord Chancellor of L-eland, he fell from his pride of place. 
Their administration lasted only for a year ; nevertheless the new 
Tory Chancellor, Lord Manners, whose period of office v/as from 
1807 to 1827, never restored him to his full former power in the 
government of the county, and thenceforward he led the life of a 
squire of immense influence until 1826. He died in 1828. His 
name lives to this day in Mayo, fresh as when he was in the pride 
of his power eighty years ago.^ 

The Summer Circuit of 1786 immediately following the trial of 
George Robert FitzGerald at the adjourned Spring Assizes, pre- 
sents but few features worthy of notice. The Assizes for the 
Counties of Roscommon and Sligo were maiden ones; so also were 
those of the County of Leitrim. Free from crime as this last- 
mentioned county had been, there yet occurred an unhappy 
difference between two gentlemen attending these Assizes at the 
county town of Carrick-on-Shannon, which caused subsequently the 
murder of the one and the death of the other on the gallows. The 
facts are shortly these. Mr. Robert Keen was an attorney prac- 
tising in the County of Leitrim, and Mr. George Nugent Reynolds 
was a gentleman of fortune and position in the same county. 
Some contradiction having taken place between them, Mr. Keon 
horsewhipped Mr. Reynolds outside the court-house, in which 
the Judge of Assize was at the moment administering justice. 
Magistrates, too, were present ; yet neither party was arrested — for 
no Connaught gentleman would have then, for an instant, thought 
of putting a stop to an, encounter by so ignoble a proceeding as 

' Hamilton Maxwell's '' Wild Sports of the West," p. 187. 


binding over the parties to keep the peace. For the moment this 
affair terminated with the horsewhipping, hut later on sad events 
occurred, which we shall relate subsequently in chronological order. 

This was the only incident worth remembering at the Carrick 
Assizes, and the judges continued their Circuit. At Ballinrobe 
Assizes, one James Foy, who had been acquitted at the adjourned 
assizes but two months before, at Castlebar, of the murder of 
Patrick Kandal McDonnell, was now put on his trial " for having 
been an accessory to the same murder." The prisoner pleaded 
that he had already been tried and acquitted {autre fois acquit), and 
that being acquitted of the principal offence, he could not now be 
tried as an accessory. The Crown insisted that he could, and that 
the offence for which he had been acquitted, and that for which he 
was now arraigned, were different substantive offences. The pre- 
siding judge, Mr. Justice Bradstreet, considered this a very nice 
question, and said he would, in deference to the opinion of other 
judges, direct the jury to find for the Crown, although he felt he 
was wrong in doing so. He differed from other learned judges, 
and declared that he would, therefore, be glad that a writ of error 
were taken, and the law finally settled on the point. The jury then 
found as directed, a writ of error was brought, and judgment was 
finally given in favour of the view taken by Sir Samuel Bradstreet, 
and the prisoner was discharged. 

The Crown lawyers on this occasion were Messrs. James 
O^Hara, Patterson, and St. George Daly. 

Counsel for the prisoner were Messrs. Charles O'Hara, Ulick 
Burke, and George J. Browne. 

This was the last of the trials for the murder of Patrick Eandal 
McDonnell. Scotch Andrew died soon after of a loathsome disease 
in the gaol of Castlebar ; so loathsome, indeed, that even the 
hospital nurses feared to approach him, as he lay accursed with the 
morbus pedicularis. Left alone on his last night, he was found 
dead in his bed — the rats having gnawed into his vitals, it was 
said, even before life was extinct ! George Kobert FitzGerald's 
wife saw him dead ; she then left Ireland, and, retiring to a con- 
vent in a Catholic country, found there — let us hope — that peace 
which she had failed to find in " the world. ^' She had had no 
children ; but her husband left one child, a daughter by his first 


marriage, who went to reside, while yet very young, with her uncle 
Mr. Connolly, at Castletown, in the County of Kildare. She there 
received from Lady Louisa Connolly, his wife, all that fond atten- 
tion that her peculiar position required. Years passed over, and 
she still knew nothing of her father's tragic end, until a sad chance 
revealed it to her. Blest with talents, youth, and beauty, her society 
was courted by the highest in the County of Kildare ; amongst 
them there was one — it is again the old story — -who passionately 
loved her, and whose love was returned. On an evening when he 
was expected at Castletown, and while she was yet awaiting his 
arrival, she almost unconsciously mounted the library ladder, and 
taking down a book that lay buried under a heap of papers, turned 
over its leaves. The name of George Robert FitzGerald caught 
her eye ; she read there the story that had been concealed from 
her — the story of his crimes and of his end; read them with feelings 
who can pourtray ? To her lover she told the secret that had been 
hidden from both, bade him farewell for ever, and never more 
entered into society. The bloom soon faded from her cheek, a 
rapid consumption set in, and she sank burdened with sorrow into 
an early grave. 

The lawless acts for which the gentry of the Province of Con- 
naught were remarkable in the last century were far from being 
brought to a close by the death of George Robert FitzGerald. In 
the same year a Mr. O'Connor, who assumed to be the descendant 
of the ancient line of the Connaught kings, took upon himself the 
state of prince, and, collecting a force of a thousand men, fortified 
himself in an island or oasis in the centre of a vast bog, and at 
once proceeded to dispossess many Cromwellian proprietors of their 
estates worth thousands of pounds a-year. He did many other 
acts in opposition to the laws, and in defiance of the local magis- 

A.D. 1787. — On the 28rd of March, the Assizes commenced at 
Carrick-on-Shannon amid great excitement. On the 18th of Octo- 
ber previous, George Nugent Reynolds was shot dead by Robert 
Keen — we have spoken above of both of them — and it was expected 
that the latter would be put on his trial for that act as wilful 

1 (( 

Irish Parliamentary Debates for 1786," Mr. Ogle's speech. 



The Grand Jury, by their foreman, Thomas Tennison, found 
true bills against Keon and others, who, when brought to the bar, 
pleaded severally not guilty. The Clerk of the Crown then pro- 
ceeded to call a jury; but a sufficient number of jurors not having 
answered to their names, the trial was postponed [pro defectu 
Jiiratorum) until the next assizes. Robert and Ambrose Keon 
were remanded, and all the other prisoners were admitted to bail. 

The counsel for the Crown on that occasion were G. S. 
Williams, K.C., James Kirwan, John Geoghegan, of Bunnowen 
Castle, in the County of Gal way, George J. Browne (author of 
the published report of the Keon trial), and George Moore, 

The counsel for the prisoners were Ulick Burke, John Blosset, 
Charles McCarthy, St. George Daly (afterwards one of the Justices 
of the Court of King's Bench), Edward Carleton, and Abraham 
Boyd. Of these Blosset was, perhaps, in the most extensive 
practice on the Circuit. No prisoner was satisfied who had not 
Counsellor Blosset for his advocate ; his cross-examinations were 
worthy of a Sulpicius. 

Owing to the excitement the above case caused in the County 
of Leitrim, the Attorney-General, the Right Honourable John 
FitzGibbon, applied on the 19th of May, 1787, for a certiorari to 
be directed to the Clerk of the Crown for that county, to remove 
thence to the city of Dublin the indictment for murder, and the 
Court granted the motion. 

Rex. v. Robert Keon and Others. 

On the 19th of June a conditional order for a Haheas Corpus 
was granted to bring up to the Court of King's Bench the prisoners, 
Robert and Ambrose Keon, for trial at the bar of the Court, that is, 
to be tried by the full Court and, as the law then stood, by a jury of 
the County of Leitrim, summoned for that purpose to Dublin.^ 

On the 23rd of June, 1787, counsel for the prisoners applied 
to the Court to discharge these orders, and to remand the record 
to the Clerk of the Crown of the County of Leitrim, which motion 

^ " Blackstone's Commentaries," Vol. iii., p. 352, Book iii., cli« 23« 

BEX V. KEON. 153 

was refused, and the case was set down for trial on the first day of 
the ensuing Michaelmas term. 

On Friday, the 10th of November, accordingly, Robert and 
Ambrose Keon were brought to the bar of the Court, when John 
Peyton, Esq., High Sheriff of the County of Leitrim, handed the 
panel to the Clerk of the Crown, whereby it appeared that the 
names of 360 jurors were returned. 

Counsel then rose to ask, on the part of the prisoners, for a 
postponement of the trial, on the grounds that a widespread pre- 
judice prevailed against his unhappy client, Mr. Keon, who for 
thirteen months had been the most oppressed, traduced, and mis- 
represented man living. The minds of men were poisoned against 
Robert Keon, and this feeling was intensified by the fact that the 
Attorney-General had succeeded in changing the venue from the 
County of Leitrim to the Court of King's Bench in Dublin. In- 
flammatory ballads had been circulated through the County of 
Leitrim, wherein, the prisoner's name being Keon, he was compared 
to Cain who committed the first murder ; and now on the night 
before this trial, the streets of the city of Dublin were disturbed 
by the singing of the same ballads, which are republished and 
scattered broad-cast and sung before the jurors, whose minds must 
be inflamed by such productions. He (counsel) would ask for a 
postponement until the next term, which would take place early in 
January, 1788. In the interval the excitement would have died 
away, and the public mind would have time to cool and subside into 
a temperate disposition and calm spirit of investigation and inquiry. 

This application was refused ; the Chief Justice observing that 
it might be difficult to bring up at another time so large a number 
of freeholders from the County of Leitrim. 

The trial then commenced ; Lord Earlsfort (afterwards Earl of 
Clonmel)^ presiding, and the other judges being Mr. Justice Henn, 
Mr. Justice Bradstreet, and Mr. Justice Bennett. 

Of these judges Lord Clonmel was the most distinguished 
lawyer and the best shot ; he had argued more cases and fought 
more duels than any of the judges of the King's Bench. 

^ Vide a biographical sketch of this learned judge, by "William J. 
FitzPatrick. (" Sham Squire," p. 32.) Mr. FitzPatrick's account of Lord 
Clonmel is said to be a photographic picture of his lordship and his times* 

154 HEX V. KEON. 

Mr. Justice Henn was an excellent private character, and full 
of fun and humour. On one occasion he assumed the appearance 
of being dreadfully puzzled on Circuit by two pertinacious young 
barristers, who flatly contradicted one the other as to the law of the 
case. At last they requested his lordship to decide the point. 

" How, gentlemen, ^^ said the judge, wrinkling his brow in 
apparent thought, " can I settle between you ? You, sir, positively 
say the law is one way, and you," turning'^to the opposite part}^ 
*' as unequivocally affirm that it is the other way. I wish to God, 
Mr. Harris," turning to his registrar, who sat underneath, " I 
knew what the law really was." 

" My lord," replied Harris, most sententiously, " if I possessed 
that knowledge, I would tell your lordship with a gi'eat deal of 
pleasure. '' 

" Then we will save the point, Mr. Harris," exclaimed the 

The third judge. Sir Samuel Bradstreet, had been Recorder of 
Dublin and M.P. for several years before he was raised to the King's 

Mr. Justice Bennett was for a number of years on the Con- 
naught Circuit, but he does not appear to have been in extensive 

The jury sworn, the Clerk of the Crown read the indictment, 
and the prisoner was given in charge; but it was then nearly five 
o'clock in the evening ; the whole day having been consumed 
with the arguments of counsel, with the challenging of the array, 
with demurring to the challenge, and with lengthened judgments 
from the Bench ; and so the Court was adjourned. 

On the morning of the following day, the Chief Justice and his 
brother justices took their places on the Bench, and Robert Keon 
was brought forward, and placed as a prisoner at the bar, where he 
was to abide his deliverance for good or evil, according to the issue 
of the trial. 

The Crown Counsel (Mr. Duquerry) stated the case. The 
circumstances of this unhappy transaction, he said, were shortly 
these :— '' The late Mr. George Nugent Reynolds thought, upon what 
grounds he (counsel) would not undertake to mention, that he had 
received some injury from Mr. Keon, for which he was entitled to 

BEX V. KEON. 155 

redress. Eejnolds therefore sent a message to Mr. Keen to meet 
him, according to those rules of honour to which our laws give no 
sanction. The message was delivered by a Mr. Plunket, and it was 
agreed between him and Mr. Keon, and Mr. Keon's friend, that 
there should be a sham duel, and that the pistols should be charged 
with powder only. Singular as it may seem, it will be clearly 
proved that the two principals and their friends knew that no balls 
were to be brought to the field on the day of meeting. The only 
object of this meeting was to preserve the appearance of adhering 
to those maxims of honour which it was conceived on that occasion 
to be necessary to observe ; but on the part of Mr. Eeynolds, or of 
his friend who attended him, there was no idea of doing, or 
attempting to do, an injury to any person. 

*'0n the faith of this agreement, Mr. Reynolds, attended by Mr. 
Plunket, came to the place appointed on the morning of the 16th 
of October, 1786, and alighting from his horse, advanced to Mr. 
Keon, who was on the ground before him, and who was attended 
by three or four other persons. Mr. Reynolds had in his hand a 
slight whip, and on coming up to Keon, he took off his hat, and 

said, 'Good morning.' Keon immediately replied, 'D n you, 

you scoundrel, why did you bring me here?' and presenting a 
pistol which he held in his hand, close to his forehead, fired at Mr. 
Reynolds, and shot him through the head. The unfortunate man 
instantly fell and expired. 

"These," continued the learned counsel, ''are the singular 
circumstances of the case you have to try ; and let me ask to what 
motive in the breast of the prisoner can we ascribe this deed ? Is 
it to the heat of passion, which the law, in tenderness to human 
frailty, will sometimes allow as an extenuation ? He had the 
whole of the preceding night to compose his mind. Fear for his 
own life there could be none ; and he (counsel) lamented to be 
obliged to say to the jury that a deep and settled malice had 
ui'ged him to take away the life of his fellow-man — that life which 
the God of heaven alone could bestow." 

The first witness for the Crown was Mr. James Plunket. He 
swore that he called on the Keons on Sunday night, the 15th of 
October, 1786, and that he had been sent there by Mr. Reynolds ; 
the Keons had all said that Reynolds had used them very ill, and 



that he had written most insulting letters to their brother Kobert, 
and that things had gone too far. One of the brothers, Mr. Edward 
Keon, a23peared more inclined to settle than the rest ; and the 
witness called him aside and begged of him not to load the pistols 
with ball the next day, the day upon which they, Robert Keon and 
Reynolds, were about to fight the duel. It was finally arranged 
that they were to meet next morning, and that the pistols were to 
be loaded with blank cartridge. They met accordingly, on the 
following morning, on the Hill of Sheemore, in the County of 
Leitrim ; the Keons being first on the ground. Reynolds had no 
pistol, but Robert Keon had a pistol in his hand, and his two 
brothers were also armed. Witness observed much preparation, 
and felt astonished at the change that had taken place in their 
manner since the previous evening. He heard Mr. Reynolds say, 
" Good morning, Mr. Keon." Keon replied, using the words 
rascal or scoundrel, levelled his pistol at Reynolds, and shot him 
dead on the spot, without even waiting for the ground to be 
measured for the duel. He added that Keon had showed, while 
standing by the corpse of his antagonist, no contrition for what he 
had done. 

This evidence was corroborated by another witness. 
William Keon, the first witness examined for the defence, 
deposed that the mock duel was a pretence, that Reynolds told 
him that there must be a duel, and that the parties went to the 
ground with the full determination of fighting. That Reynolds 
carried in his hand a horsewhip, and made three successive blows 
at Keon, and that the third and last of the blows struck the pistol 
which he (Keon) held in his hand, and that it then accidentally 
went off and shot Reynolds in the head. Other witnesses were 
examined with the view of proving the case made by William 

Lord Clonmel then proceeded to address the jury, and he did 
so briefly and distinctly. He said that, on an occasion like this, he 
had but few observations to make. There could be no doubt that 
Reynolds was killed ; there could be no doubt that he fell by a 
shot fired from a pistol held by the prisoner at the bar, and there 
could be no doubt that this meeting was in consequence of a 
deliberate appointment. 

BEX y. KEON. 157 

He then commented on the difference between the testimony of 
Mr. Plunket and Mr. William Keon. If the jury believed the 
former, then there was to be no real duel but a mock one ; while, 
on the contrary, Keon seems to say that his purpose was to bring 
about a duel. But Plunket swore directly the opposite. As to the 
agreement that the pistols were not to be loaded with ball, if that . 
were true, then that Keon should have had his pistol so loaded was 
a work of shocking baseness. If they believed that several blows 
were struck by Reynolds at the prisoner, that one of these blows 
struck the pistol, and that it went off by accident, then they must 
acquit the prisoner. It was for the jury, however, to say whether 
or not it was probable that Reynolds, himself unarmed, would make 
three blows at a man who was, and whose two brothers were, armed 
with pistols. This was all a matter of probability, and the jury 
were the judges of probability. If the jury believed that there 
was this agreement between the parties to which Plunket had 
sworn, then Robert Keon became the assassin of the deceased, and 
the unfortunate man was murdered — cruelly and barbarously 
murdered. The Chief Justice (he had himself fought Lord 
Tyrawley) told the jury that it was his opinion " that if one in a 
deliberate manner goes to fight a duel, and he kills his opponent, 
it is murder." The defence, he said, got up was a good one if 
the jury believed it ; but when the prisoner stood over the corpse, 
after the deceased fell, did he show any mark of remorse ? With 
these observations he would leave the case in the hands of the 
jury, upon whose counsels he implored the light of heaven to 

Mr. Justice Henn, Mr. Justice Bradstreet, and Mr. Justice 
Bennett followed. 

The jury having heard these several addresses, retired to their 
room, and it was an hour ere they returned. The court was 
hushed into profound and awful silence, as the question was 
asked, " Gentlemen, have you agreed to your verdict ? " The fore- 
man replied that they had, and that the verdict was " Guilty.'^ 

Lord Clonmel, C.J., thus addressing the prisoner, said : — 
" Prisoner at the bar, it becomes my duty, and a painful duty it is, 
to state some of the circumstances of the black crime of which you 
have been found guilty by a jury of your own county, and, in truth, 

158 REX V. KEON, 

as respectable a jury as any other county could produce. You have 
been found guilty of murder — the most horrible offence that is to 
be found in the catalogue of human crimes — and in this case 
attended with circumstances of aggravation. You are an attorney, 
an oJBficer of the Court, who, from your age and your situation, must 
have been aware of the consequences of your act. 

" It seems that the unhappy victim of your resentment had used 
some aspersive language with respect to you, and you took the most 
summary and most violent method of satisfying your own anger 
and of vindicating j^our feelings of honour. You, an attorne}', 
sought the most public place, the county town, Carrick-on- Shannon, 
during the sitting of the judges, publicly to beat him. One would 
think that human wrath could go no farther ! One would have 
thought that the person who tamely received such an insult could 
have excited no other passion but pity ! 

" To satisfy the world, to satisfy the false appearances of honour, 
Mr. Reynolds sent a mutual friend to you, who apprised 3^ou that 
you might appear as an adversary without any fear of danger to 
yourself, for that Mr. Reynolds would have no weapons to do you 
mischief. After such a proposal you went — the next day — after 
having laid your head upon your pillow — after having, we may 
suppose, addressed the Almighty in prayer — you rushed in the 
most brutal manner on the object of your rage, and deprived him 
of his life ; nor even then satisfied, while his lifeless body lay 
bleeding at your feet, you continued to express 3'our unmeasured 
resentment. See, too, what you have done ; you have brought 
down your own family and his to the most wretched situation, and 
all by the indulgence of j^our uncontrolled passions. You have 
been defended by able men, and everything that human ingenuity 
and learning could do to save you has been done by them. Nothing 
now remains for me but to pass upon you the sentence of the law." 

Accordingly, on the morning of the 16th of February following, 
Robert Keen was launched into eternity. 

Reynolds left a son, George Nugent Reynolds, who, it is said, 
was blest with poetic talents of no ordinary degree. He wrote 
many poems, and to him has been — with what justice we know 
not — attributed the authorship of the " Exile of Erin." Affidavits 


upon affidavits have been made to support the truth of this position, 
but the great majority beHeve that Campbell" was the author. 

Amongst the lawyers who rode the Connaught Circuit in the 
second half of the last century, one of the most remarkable was 
Thomas Kelly, of Fidane, in the County of Galway. His name, 
'' T. Kelly, Counsellor-at-Law," appears in 1764 on the list of the 
Common Council of the Town of Galway.^ As a real property 
lawyer, he was unequalled at the Irish bar. No litigant on circuit 
was satisfied who had not Tom Kelly for his advocate. No pro- 
prietor was content who had not his opinion on his title. All 
purchasers of property must have Counsellor Kelly's sanction for 
their speculations. In a word, he became an oracle on circuit. He 
was always prepared, and his arguments never failed in support of 
his opinion. In 1782 he was raised to the dignity of Prime 
Sergeant, and on the death of Mr. Justice Lill, in 1781, was 
appointed a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. His aversion 
to litigation was well known ; and it was his wont to state what 
course the litigant parties should pursue, and if both parties agreed 
in laying a case before him, ten to one if either ever seceded from his 
opinion. His second marriage, when late in life, is thus announced 
in Walker's " Hibernian Magazine," July, 1795, page 96 : — " At 
Kosanna, County of Wicklow, the Eight Hon. Thomas Kell}', 
Second Justice of His Majesty's Court of Common Pleas, to Miss 
Tighe." As a judge, he was willing to admit his mistakes ; thus 
William Johnson (afterwards judge) was once pressing him fiercely 
to a decision in his favour, relying on two cases in point, which 
had been decided by his lordship. " Oh, Mr. Johnson," exclaimed 
the judge, '' is it because I decided wrong twice that you would 
have me to do it a third time ? Til decide the other way this 
bout ; " and he did so. In 1801 he retired from the Bench, which 
he left with a pension of £2,000 a-year. Thenceforward he lived as 
a country gentleman in hospitable magnificence at his residence in 
the Queen's County. He was a good rider, and followed the 
hounds almost to the day of his death. He died, to the unanimous 
regret of all who knew him.^ 

The appointment of assistant barristers in 1787 to assist the 

^ Hardiman's "History of Galway," p. 187, note. 
' Barrington*s "Personal Sketches." 


Justices of the Peace at the Quarter Sessions, provided situations 
for several of the bar attached to this Circuit. Previous to that 
time there had been no such office ; and it was felt by the magis- 
trates to be an intolerable burden and responsibility for men like 
them, without legal training, to have quarterly to charge Grand and 
Petty Juries, whilst the services of a barrister skilled in the law 
could be obtained at a moderate cost to the State. Lord Lifford, 
then Lord Chancellor, approved of the project ; and an Act was 
passed (•27th George III., chap. 40) which enabled the Lord Lieute- 
nant to appoint barristers to each county or each riding of counties 
as in the Act mentioned. At that time there were no civil bills 
triable at Sessions, and the assistant barrister's jurisdiction was 
entirely conversant with criminal cases. The new offices, though the 
pay was merely ^300 a-year, were eagerly sought for by the leaders 
of the Circuit. The place promised well, for the society of the 
assistant barrister was sure to be sought for by the country gentle- 
men, at whose houses they would usually stop, and an increase of 
business consequent thereon was to the bar a certainty. In this 
way the new posts were filled, and the Connaught lawyers had their 
share of the patronage. 

A.D. 1790. — The accounts of the several assizes in this year 
betoken a diminution of crime. In Sligo and in Mayo the High 
Sheriffs had the pleasure of presenting the judges and the bar with 
white gloves — an expensive pleasure, no doubt ; but it would be a 
pain equally expensive to make, as they should have done, a like 
number of presents of black gloves in cases of execution. In fact, 
it mattered little to the Sheriff, in a pecuniary way, whether he had 
to rejoice or to mourn, as, in either case he had, according to the 
custom of the times, to pay. But whether the bar rejoiced at a 
maiden assizes, when there was no business for them to do, is a 
speculative question upon which we offer no opinion ! On their 
arrival in Galway, they were met by a young and clever barrister, 
Mr. (afterwards Sir Jonah) Barrington^ who, we may presume, 
honoured them with his company each day of the Assizes. Flushed 
with victory, he had been just returned to Parliament as member 
for the neighbouring borough of Tuam ; and we may hazard a 
plausible guess that a gentleman of such volubility was not want- 
ing in responding to a neatly put together speech of the junior 


proposing his health. In the yesLV 1791 the salary of the assistant 
barristers was increased to ^480. 

In 1793 the exclusion of Koman Catholics from the bar (from 
which they had been excluded since 1725) came to an end, and in' 
the same year Messrs. Martin ffrench Lynch, of the Kenmore 
family, and Mr. Donelan, of Ballydonelan, both Catholics, were 
called to the bar, and were admitted without a black bean on the 
Connaught Circuit. Thus, while the Church of Kome in England 
and in Ireland was peacefully recovering her freedom, in a neigh -^ 
bouring Catholic country the rivers flowed into the sea red with the 
blood of the Catholic clergy ! It seems to require explanation, how, 
in the very year when the Act was passed enabling Catholics to be' 
called to the bar, they actually were '' called,^' for one would sup- 
pose that a number of years was necessary for their education. But, 
the solution of the difficulty is simple. Catholics, ever since their 
exclusion, had entered the Inns, and pursued their studies, and had 
" eaten their dinners " with an appetite equal to that of their Pro- 
testant fellow-students, and thus were qualified, though " uncalled," 
to obtain certificates of competency to act as conveyancers. So 
they became convej-ancers and pleaders, and many of them rea- 
lized large fortunes; though, as in the case of Simpson v. Mount-, 
morris, the legality of the work done was sometimes called in 
question, on the ground that the conveyancer was "a Papist.^^ 
Consequently, when the enabling statute passed, there was an in- . 
stant accession of able and eminent men to the legal roll in each 
kingdom. Need we remind our readers that Charles Butler, the 
"Catholic conveyancer" and commentator upon Coke Littleton, 
realized an enormous fortune ? He was a member of one of the 
Inns of Court, but he was not a barrister. Though thus admitted 
in 1793, they were still excluded for the next thirty- six years from 
the Bench and from Parliamentary honours. The exclusion of 
lawyers, both Catholic and Protestant, from Parliament has too fre- 
quently been desired by many who are ignorant of how great would 
be the calamity caused by such an exclusion. Lawyers were, as a . 
matter of fact, excluded in the reign of Henry VI., early in the 
fifteenth century, by Cardinal Beaufort, who, though no lawyer, was 
Lord Chancellor of England ; and that most reverend personage, to 
whom the bar was odious, caused to be inserted in the writs for a 



new Parliament a clause directing that no barrister should be 
elected; so there was not a single member of the profession in that 
Parliament, which has ever since been known by the name of the 
" Parliamentum Indoctum " — the Ignorant Parliament — by which 
not a single good law was passed, nor a well-worded section 
penned. Never afterwards excluded, the members of the bar have 
since taken their seats side by side with the untitled aristocracy in 
the Lower House; whilst the Lord Chancellor, in the House of 
Lords, is as much respected, to use the words of the low-born Lord 
Thurlow, as the ^' proudest peer he looks down upon I " 

A remarkable occurrence took place at the Roscommon Assizes 
in the year 1793. It appears that William Crofton, Esq., was 
High Sheriff of the County of Roscommon, and he distinctly de- 
clined to take that oath which affirmed that the Church of Rome 
was idolatrous and damnable, nor would he take any oaths which 
would fix a stigma on his Catholic fellow-countrymen. The judges 
for the Circuit at the Summer Assizes were Chief Baron Yelverton 
and Mr. Justice Downes, afterwards Lord Kilwarden. On Monday, 
the 22nd of June, the Grand Jury were summoned in the usual 
course by the sheriff ; but the legality of their constitution was at 
once called in question by the counsel for the several prisoners. 
The assizes were then postponed until the 12th of October following, 
when they were opened by the Chief Baron and the Prime Sergeant 
FitzGerald. After the new grand panel had been called over, the 
counsel for the prisoners tendered the following challenge to the 
array :i — "That W. Crofton, who empannelled and returned the 
same, was not qualified to act as sheriff of this county, as he had 
not performed the requisites by the statute of the 2nd of Queen 
Anne required of all officers on their several appointments and ad- 
mission into office. Wherefore it prayed that the array might be 
quashed." The above statute enacts that all officers who do not 
qualify for their office according to the modes specified therein are 
incapable of acting in or of holding same, and the office is thereby 
declared vacant. 

This challenge having been received, the Crown lawyers de- 
murred thereto ore tenus ; but after a long argument the Court 

Walker's "Hibernian Magazine," for Oct.j 1793, pp. 96-380. 


disallowed the objections, and thenceforward many sheriffs all over 
Ireland declined to take the offensive oaths. 

The criminal business then commenced, and, in truth, there was 
little in the calendar to call for a passing remark ; but owing to 
what occurred in the jury-room, and before the discharge of the 
jury, we have no hesitation in placing before our readers the case 
of The King v. McDiarmad, not that there is a single element in 
the case worth noting, save as to the carting of the juries to the 
verge of the county, then common as a punishment for disagreeing, 

McDiarmad was indicted for having, on the 21st of May, felo- 
niously, with several persons unknown, broken open the house of 
Thomas Tennisson, Esq., and thereout stole several articles of 
plate, wine, &c., &c. To this he pleaded not guilty. Be it remem- 
bered that if the value of the property then stolen exceeded a 
certain small sum, the penalty was death. The following gen- 
tlemen were professionally engaged : Sergeant Stanley, the Soli- 
citor-General, Mr. Toler, John Blosset, and James Whitestone, 
for the prosecution ; while the counsel for the prisoner were John 
Geoghegan and Owen McDermott, Esqrs. 

The indictment was opened by the junior counsel for the pro- 
secution, and the Sergeant stated the case, we are told, with great 
ability and ingenuity. Several witnesses were examined on both 
sides, and a very able and discriminating charge was delivered 
by the Chief Baron. The jury retired about 10 p.m., but as it was 
not probable that they would agree, the Court was adjourned until 
the following morning, when they reassembled ; and as an agreement 
was still unlikely, they were informed by the Court that carts would 
be ready at three o'clock to cart them to the bounds of the county, 
fifteen miles off, there to be discharged. Such was the punish- 
ment usually inflicted in those days upon disagreeing juries. Now, 
the weather was cold and cheerless, and the majority were deter- 
mined to enforce their arguments upon the minority in some way 
likely to ensure their coming to an unanimous decision. The fore- 
man, accordingly, insisted that those differing from him, four in 
number, should give way, and find the prisoner guilty. They, 
with equal determination, resisted all persuasion. A. hand-to-hand 
fight ensued. Fortunately, the only fire-arms in the room were 
the fire-irons, but even those were too freely used. The uproar 



reached the ears of the judge; the halberdmen rushed upstan-s, 
broke open the door, and, with the aid of the military, succeeded 
in dragging the jurors, all battered and bleeding, into Court. 
Each party swore that "they'd have the other's lives." His lord- 
ship then administered a severe lecture to them, and they were 
led down to the carts, three in number, which were ready to 
receive them. On they moved, attended by the sub-sheriff, on 
horseback, and by a troop of the 14th Light Dragoons. As 
the jury were leaving the town, those that had been for acquitting 
the prisoner consented to find him guilty of stealing property 
to the value of 4s. 9d., to which the others assented. The compro- 
mise, however, came too late, as the judge had left town, and so 
they must travel on for hours before those awkward vehicles could 
reach him ; for the rugged roads, up hill and down dale, were then 
almost impassable to wheel- carriages — and such carriages! The 
wheels, revolving on wooden axles, which were never oiled, made a 
detestable half-screaming and half- whistling sound, as they rolled 
along into ruts and out of them as best they could ! We cannot 
say that either in their jury-room or in their equipage we envy 
these twelve men ! 

The following is the Connaught Circuit list for the Summer 
Assizes of 1795 : — Koscommon, 20th July ; Carrick, 27th July ; 
Sligo, 30th July ; Castlebar, 4th August ; Galvvay, 7th August ; 
Ennis, 15th August. This was the last year in which Ennis be- 
longed to the Connaught Circuit. In the next year six circuits of 
the judges were for the first time established in place of the five 
which had previously existed, the new and additional one being 
" the Home." Ennis was then attached to the Munster Circuit, 
and a general recasting of the other circuits took place. But another 
and a greater revolution took place in 1796, which was the clothiug 
of the assistant barristers with power to hear Civil Bills for sums 
of small amount, and a withdrawal from the Judges of Assize of all 
Civil Bill jurisdiction, save on appeal. 

The history of Civil Bills is not without interest. Previous to 
the reign of Queen Anne they had been unauthorized by the law of 
the land, though they were established by Lord Strafford, and the 
sixth article of his impeachment was grounded on the establishment 
of such an illegally constituted Court. In their incipiency. Civil 


Bills were known as " English Bills," to distinguish them from the 
pleadings in the Superior Courts of Common Law, which were in 
Latin ; and the reason for their being called " Civil Bills ^' was due 
to their similarity to bills in the ** Civil Law,^' as the " Code, the 
Pandects, and the Listitutes " of Justinian are called. The statute 
of 2nd of Anne, cap. 18, a.d. 1704, followed by the 6th of Anne, 
cap. 5, which was made permanent by statute 2 Geo. I., cap. 11, a.d. 
1714, must be considered as the earliest of the Civil Bill code, and 
the foundation of the present system of bringing the law home to 
every man's door. This last-mentioned Act empowered the Judges 
of Assize, in their respective circuits, to hear and determine in a 
summary way by an " English Bill/' or paper petition in the English 
language, all manner of disputes or differences between party and 
party, for any sum not exceeding that in the Act set forth.^ This 
mode of trying causes of small amount before the Judges of Assize 
on their several circuits continued with but little alteration from 
1714 to 1796, when the statute 36 Geo. III., chapter 25, was 
enacted, which entirely withdrew from the Judges of Assize the 
hearing of all Civil Bills. In truth it was high time, for the busi- 
ness of the Courts of Assize and Nisi Prius had increased with the 
increase of property and population, and the suits by Civil Bill had 
so far multiplied that in many counties the Civil Bills constituted 
the chief part of the business of the Judges in the Nisi Prius 
Court. It was therefore not unusual to require the assistance of a 
third judge to get through the business of an Assizes. The appeals 
under that system were vexatious, for an appeal lay to the next 
going Judge of Assize ; and thus the whole county was assembled 
twice a-year to witness the accumulation of arrears of business to 
an extent that at last required the interference of the legislature. ^ 
The appointment of assistant barristers at Quarter Sessions 
had proved so satisfactory in Crown cases that it was now resolved 
to give them power to entertain Civil Bills; and it must be ad- 
mitted that it was due to the genius of Lord Clare, then Lord 
Chancellor of Ireland, that so beneficent a measure became law. 
The preamble of the Act is worthy of remembrance ; it states " That : 
whereas the great increase of Civil Bills, and also the great increase 
of other business at the assizes of the several counties of this king* 

1 For a Form of Civil Bill in 1748, vide supra, Index, in the case of 
Martin V. Eyre. 



dom, have made it highly inconvenient that such Civil Bills should 
be heard and determined at the assizes ; and whereas it will con- 
tribute to the ease of the poor (whose cases are principally tried by 
Civil Bill, and who are now brought frequently far from their 
homes, and often unavoidably kept many days attending the 
assizes, as parties and witnesses, and sometimes at an expense 
exceeding the value of the sum in contest) if there should be more 
frequent opportunities of hearing and determining within the several 
counties of the kingdom, and more places appointed for hearing 
and determining the same." 

The inestimable benefit to suitors of understanding the lan- 
guage of the process of the Court, now patent to all men, was long 
opposed by the bar. French had been the language of the law 
until the reign of Henry YIII. Bracton and Littleton had written 
in that tongue, in which, too, the reports known as ** The Year 
Books/' had appeared. From Henry VHI. to the Commonwealth, 
Latin was the language of the law. But during the eleven years 
of the Commonwealth, English, the tongue of the people, was used. 
The Kestoration of Charles II. in 1660 brought with it a reaction 
in favour not only of the Latin, but even of the Law-French, to 
the entire exclusion of the English tongue. During the reigns of 
Charles II., James II., William III., Anne, and George I., Latin 
was the legal language ; but by the 4th George II., 1731, chap. 26, 
Latin was abolished as the language of the law, and from that time 
English has been used in all the pleadings of the Courts. The 
Civil Bills, during the time of Lord Strafford (who was Viceroy 
from 1635 to 1643), were in English, as they have been from their 
re-establishment in the early years of the last century to the present 
time. The subdivision of the counties into districts for the new 
assistant barristers was a great boon to the poor suitors.^ 

* The following are the names of the assistant barristers, chairmen, or 
County Court Judges, in the five Connaught counties from 1796 to the 
present time. Those marked with an asterisk were members of the Con- 
naught Bar Society. 

Co. Gal WAY. 
D. 1797. Ulick Burke, k.c* 
.D. 1798. James Kirwan* (of the 
Castle Hacket family, interred in 
the Abbey of Ross). 

A.D. 1822. James Trail Hall, Com 
missioner of Bankruptcy. 

A.D. 1829. Stephen Woulfe, k.c. 
afterwards Lord Chief Baron. 

A.D. 1830. William Henry Curran. 



John Kirwan. 
A.D. 1797. — Descended from the Kirwans of Dalgan Park, in 
the County of Mayo, John Kirwan was a man of talent above the 
average, and of social qualities that endeared him to those with 
whom he was associated — qualities of head and heart that made him 
one of the most popular men on the Circuit, and won for him the 

A.D. 1834. William Mayne. 

A.D. 1836. William Deane Freeman, 


A.D. 1852. Hans H. Hamilton, q.c. 
A.D. 1854. William W. Brereton, q.c. 
A.D. 1867. Robert Longfield, q.c. 
A.D. 1868. Thomas Rice Henn, q.c, 
who is also 41st Recorder of Galway. 

County Mayo. 

A.D. 1797. Martin Kirwan.* 

A.D. 1808. John Darcy,* of theClif- 

den family. 
A.D. 1809. W.H. Ellis,* many years 
Crown Prosecutor on the Con- 
naught Circuit. 
A.D. 1829. Robert Johnson.* 
Malachy Fallon.* 
W. Mayne. 
Michael O'Shaughnessy, 

A.D. 1834 
A.D. 1835 
A.D. 1847 

A.D. 1859 

Sir Colman O'Loghlen, 
Q.c, afterwards Judge Advocate- 

A.D. 1861. Charles Rolleston, q.c. 

A.D. 1865. John H. Richards. 

County Roscommon. 

A.D. 1797. James Whitstone, K.c.,* 
Father of the Connaught Bar. 

A.D. 1802. Richard T. Sharkey.* 

A.D. 1804. George French, q.c,* for 
many years Father of the Con- 
naught Circuit. 

A.D. 1829. Thomas A. Forde. 

A.D. 1849. Henry Hutton. 

A.D. 1859. James Robinson, q.c* 

(now First Sergeant-at-Law). 
A.D. 1863. Sir Francis Wm. Brady, 

Bart., Q.c 
A.D. 1872. Arthur Hamill, q.c 

County Sligo. 
A.D. 1797. Daniel W. Webber. 
A.D. 1803. Francis Knox, k.c 
A.D. 1809. Robert Johnson.* 
A.D. 1830. W. H. Ellis.* 
A.D. 1836. H. Robinson. 
A.D. 1865, James P. Hamilton, q.c 
A.D. 1880. Arthur Hamill, q.c. 

County Leitrim. 

A.D. 1797. Thomas Morgan Crof ton.* 

A.D. 1802. Thomas Fleming. 

A.D. 1817. John Dickson. 

A.D. 1822. Theophilus Jones. 

A.D. 1829. William Henry Curran. 

A.D. 1830. Richard Moore. 

A.D. 1831. John Finlay. 

A.D. 1837. Daniel Ryan Kane, q.c. 

A.D. 1862. Henry West, q.c* 

A.D. ]864. Charles James Cofiey, Q.c. 

A.D. 1866. Charles Hare Hemphill, 

Q.c. (now Sergeant). 
A.D. 1870. John O'Hagan, q.c (no>v 

one of the Judges of the High Court 

of Justice). 
A.D. 1872. John C. Neligan, q.c 
A.D. 1878. William T. Darley, ll.d. 
A.D. 1879. Samuel M. Greer. 
A.D. 1881. George Waters, q.c. 



hand and the heart of an heiresa, a Miss French, of French Grove, 
and with the Grove a house, which contained divers reception- 
rooms, harrack-rooms, hed-rooms, kitchen, and larder, situate at a 
convenient distance from Castlehar, and on the line of march that 
the Connaught bar marched on their road to Galway. She was 
accomplished — so was he ; and it was not unusual, according to 
the custom of the day, for her to be mounted on a gorgeous pillion 
behind her husband, as he headed the cavalcade, generally a dozen 
of the bar, whom he invited to meet the judges. Mr. Kirwan, 
living in the city of Dublin during the greater part of the year, had 
his lands let to tenants ; consequently he was not in a position to 
have either the fatted calf selected from the herd, or the sheep 
from the fold ; neither was his garden well stocked, though his wine 
cellar was ; in fact, he was dependent upon the market of the neigh- 
bouring town of Tuam for the necessaries and for the dainties of 
the table. Now, on the day in question — we forget the year— the 
judges. His Majesty's counsel, and the leading men of the county 
of Mayo, were gathered within the hospitable walls of French 
Grove; four o'clock came, five o'clock, and six, and no market 
cart appeared, and no provisions were in the larder ; no smoke 
from the kitchen chimney, and no sign of dinner. Dismay was 
on every countenance, and it was at last resolved to push on to 
Tuam, and who knows but the Archbishop would invite them all 
to a sumptuous entertainment at the Palace ? The suggestion was 
adopted ; they dashed on ; but when drawing near to the town, they 
met the market cart, loaded with all manner of viands. Round 
turned the cavalcade, the apology of the major-domo, who had 
evidently been celebrating his birthday, was accepted, and at 
midnight the company felt happy, and were soon in a position 
to forget the disappointments of the afternoon. It is worthy of 
remembrance that the grand-nephew of this grand old lawyer is the 
present County Court Judge, of the County of Clare, Mr. Charles 
Kelly, Q.C., of the Connaught Circuit, whose picturesque and lovely 
demesne, Newtown, near Ballyglunin, abuts on the line of march 
of the bar between Castlehar and Galway. Mr. Kirwan ceased to 
be a member of the Circuit in 1825 ; but he appears to have been 
frequently the guest of the Connaught Bar Society. 

A.D. 1798. — The Freeman's Journal, at the close of the month 


of April, 1798, publislies the following gratifying intelligence from 
the Cork correspondent of that journal, which, at the time, was 
edited by Mr. George J. Browne, a member of the Connaught Bar 
Society, in relation to Sergeant Stanley, a leader on the Con- 
naught Circuit. It would appear that the learned sergeant was 
required by the Lord Chancellor to take the place of one of the 
judges on the Munster Circuit, upon which there were several heavy 
cases for trial, including murder, treason, houghing of cattle, &c. 
The Assizes having terminated, the High Sheriff of the County 
of Cork presented him with the following address : — 

" County Court Gtrand Jury Koom, 

"April 21st, 1798. 

" To Edmund Stanley, Esq., Third Sergeaut-at-Law. 

" We, the High Sheriff of the County of Cork, at the Spring 
Assizes assembled, return our warmest thanks to Mr. Sergeant 
Stanley for the firm, patient, and humane conduct evinced by him 
during the long and painful execution of his office as judge, and 
the dignity with which he supported order and decorum in his 

" Samuel Townsend, 

'* For self and fellows.'^ 

The Sergeant replied — *'Mr. High Sheriff and Gentlemen of the 
Grand Jury of the County of Cork, I am extremely happy to find 
that my conduct in discharge of my public duty, upon this very 
important occasion, has met with the approbation of so respectable 
a body as the High Sheriff and Grand Jury of the County of Cork ; 
and if I wanted anything to animate my exertions in support of the 
laws and constitution, and in restoration of public tranquillity, 
this kind of testimony, which you have been so good as to bestow 
upon me, would afford me a very strong additional incentive 

As Crown Judge in Cork, much of the learned Sergeant^s time 
had been consumed in hearing cases arising out of the unhappy 
state of political parties in the year of 'Hhe rebellion." There was 
one trial, however, and that for wilful murder, which awakened 



every sympathy of the human heart in favour of the prisoner at the 
bar, a Eoscommon gentleman, whose special counsel had ridden 
from the Connaught Circuit for the occasion. We shall summarize 
it as follows : — 

Rex v. the Hon. Robert Edwaud King. 

The Crown Counsel of the Munster Circuit appeared for the 
Crown, whilst for the prisoner were several members of the Munster 
bar — Messrs. Blossett and Martin Lynch being special from the 
Connaught Circuit. The family of King had obtained a grant, in the 
confiscations of the sixteenth century, of the Rockingham estates in 
the County of Roscommon, of which Lord Kingston was in 1752 
proprietor, in which year he married eTane, daughter of Thomas 
Caufield, of Dunamon. In 1766 he was created Viscount Kings- 
borough, and in 1768 Earl of Kingston, from which last-mentioned 
year, and during his life, his eldest son and heir, Robert, bore by 
courtesy the title of Lord Kingsborough ; and he in 1769 inter- 
married, whilst yet a minor, with Caroline FitzGerald, a daughter of 
Richard FitzGerald, of Mount Ophaly, in the County of Kildare. 
She had one brother, who died unmarried, and on his death she 
became heiress and representative of the White Knights. Though 
unmarried, he left a son whose name was Henry Gerald FitzGerald, 
illegitimate, and Lady Kingsborough, being deeply attached to her 
brother, resolved to bring up the young lad with as much care as if 
he had been her own son. He lived in her house at Kingston 
Lodge, near Boyle, and was the constant companion of her children, 
the eldest of whom was George, afterwards third Earl of Kingston, 
and the second, Robert Edward, the prisoner at the bar, afterwards 
Lord Lorton. There were daughters, too, and one of them was 
the Honourable Mary King ; and it was for the better education of 
those children that Lord and Lady Kingsborough spent the greatest 
part of the year in the neighbourhood of London. The Honourable 
Mary King had a pleasing expression of countenance, her figure 
was graceful, her manners were artless, and she was remarkable 
for the beauty of her hair, which grew so luxuriantly as to attract 
the notice of all who saw her. She had conversational powers of 
no ordinary kind, and could entertain by her ceaseless and varied 
anecdotes the many who crowded to her father's receptions near 


FitzGerald obtained, tbrougli the combined influence of the 
Earl of Kingston and Lord Kingsborough, a commission in the 
army, and soon rose to the I'ank of colonel. In London he con- 
tinued to enjoy, as he had done in the County of Koscommon, the 
unaltered friendship of those to whom he owed his position in 
society. And yet, forgetting all that they had done for him, he, 
after long persuasions, induced the Hon. Mary King to leave her 
father's house and elope with him, though he was then a married 
man. On the morning of her disappearance (she was then but 
eighteen), a note left on her dressing-table informed her parents 
that she had fled from her home with the intention of drowning 
herself in the Thames. No time w^as lost in dragging the river 
near the house, and, as her bonnet and shawl were found on the 
bank, the family in general was convinced that she had committed 
suicide. Lord Kingsborough could see no grounds for such an 
act; and he accordingly caused advertisements to be published in 
all the London journals of the day. With matchless effrontery, 
Colonel FitzGerald afi'ected to join in the search, and when all had 
proved fruitless, no one was louder in lamentation than himself, 
but he had " his misgivings that she was yet on the land of the 
Hving." He was admitted to their councils, proposed plans, 
sympathised with them in their regrets, and acted the part of a 
loving relation admirably. One day the darkness which shrouded 
the disappearance of the young lady in mystery was dispelled, and 
in this way. It was the custom of Colonel FitzGerald to call about 
noon upon his daily mission of condolence ; it now so happened 
that one day a girl of the lower class of life waited on Lady 
Kingsborough, with an intimation that she thought she could give 
her some information that would lead to the discovery of her miss- 
ing child. She was, she said, a servant at a lodging-house in 
Kensington, to which place a gentleman had brought a young lady 
about the time mentioned in the advertisements, and this gentleman 
was a constant visitor at the house. 

Whilst the girl was thus speaking, the door was flung open, and 
in walked Colonel FitzGerald. She recognised him at once, and 
said, ''Why, that is the very gentleman that visits the young lady." 
So completely was the colonel taken by surprise that, without 
uttering a syllable, he dashed down-stairs, and in a moment 
regained the street. 



The game of deception was now up, and the prisoner, Colonel 
King, at once sent him a hostile message, and on the following 
morning they met near the magazine in Hyde Park. Seven shots 
were exchanged before they separated, nor would they have been 
then separated, had not Colonel FitzGerald's ammunition been 
exhausted. He then made an effort to address Colonel King, who 

cut him short by saying, "You are a d d villain; I won't hear 

a word you have to say ! " 

On the following day the parties were again to meet, and in the 
same place, but, before the appointed time, both were put under 
arrest by the police. The young lady was now recovered by her 
father, and conveyed first to Kingston Lodge, in Roscommon, and 
next to Mitchelstown Castle, in the south of Ireland, far, as it was 
supposed, from the influence of Colonel FitzGerald. But his plans 
were already laid. He had bribed one of the maid-servants who 
accompanied her to Ireland, and through her got the most accurate 

information concerning: the 



Disguising himself as 

best he could, he came over to Ireland, and put up at the hotel in 
Mitchelstown, for the sole purpose of again carrying off his victim. 
Information was at once furnished to Lord Kingsborough of the 
stranger's presence and of the danger his daughter was in. The 
stranger had left that morning for Kilworth. Lord Kingsborough 
and Colonel King followed him, and they arrived just as he had 
retired to his room for the night. Lord Kingsborough sent the 
waiter to him to say that two gentlemen wished to see him most 
particularly. The door was locked, and the stranger answered in 
loud tones from within that he was not to be disturbed. The 
moment that Lord Kingsborough and Colonel King heard the well- 
known voice of Colonel FitzG-erald they smashed open the door. 
The prisoner rushed at him as he lay in bed. The villain begged 
for mercy, but his cries of agony were stifled in his blood. They 
left him a mangled corpse. Colonel King was immediately arrested, 
and at the ensuing assizes of the County Cork, tried before Sergeant 
Stanley, and acquitted of the charge of wilful murder. The Earl 
of Kingston was tried at the bar of the Irish House of Lords, and 
was also acquitted. 

REBELLION OF 1798. 178 


HE Connaught Circuit during the eventful year 1798 
j^ is marvellously free from all trials of interest. Not a 
single criminal appears to have been brought before 
the courts either for high treason or for murder, for 
houghing cattle, or for any lesser crime. But we 
must not therefore infer that there was an immunity from 
crime, or that justice had grown weary ; the hangman's 
occupation, indeed, was gone ; it was for him then to enjoy his 
otium cum dignitate ; but courts-martial sat daily at the drum- 
head, and by their sentence multitudes perished. The '^ Saunders's 
News-Letter " of the 12th of August in that year states that '' great 
numbers of criminals were tried by court-martial in Gal way, some 
for being engaged in the late rebellion, and others for houghing 
cattle. Some were acquitted, but far the greater number were 
executed." The condemned in the County of Gal way were generally 
shot, while those in the northern counties of the province were for 
the most part put an end to by the more ignominious death of 
hanging. The commanding officer in Galway, Colonel of the Kil- 
kenny Militia, ordered the prisoners out to be shot in batches of 
ten. One of his officers, a Captain Rawson, of Baltinglass, refused 
to be a party to this wholesale slaughter, and when his colonel 
ordered him to take a file of soldiers to the green for the above 
purpose, he refused, and immediately resigned his commission. 
On his resignation being accepted, he flew at his colonel, and gave 
him before his brother officers an unmerciful flogging at the door of 
the Tholsol, in the town of Galway. The colonel sent a challenge, 
which the captain did not accept. The latter was then just about 
to be married to a County Galway lady ; but calling on the morn- 
ing of the intended marriage, dressed as a bridegroom, at the 
lady's house, he found that she declined to marry one upon whose 
honour, on account of the above refusal, there rested a stain ; and 

174 REBELLION OF 1798. 

so he rushed to the barracks^ and, returning in a couple of hours, 
claimed and received his bride, as he had in the meantime shot his 
colonel and vindicated his own good name. How vividly does this 
anecdote pourtra}^ the ideas of that time ! How difficult is it to 
realize that in little more than three-quarters of a century so great 
a change could have taken place in the feelings of society ! 

The usual meeting of the Connaught bar took place after the 
Hilary Term of 1798, but there was no meeting after Trinity Term^ 
as appears by the following minute made by the secretary, Mr. 
John Guthrie, in the Bar-book : — 

" Trinity Term, 1798,— The Connaught bar did not meet after this term 
on account of the rebellion in Ireland. " 

The defeat of the insurgents at Vinegar Hill, on the 21st of 
June, crushed the rebellion for a time ; but on the 23rd of August, 
the whole country was again in confusion, in consequence of the 
landing of a small French force of 1,060 men, besides officers, at 
Killala, in the County of Mayo. On the 25th of August, the 
French, under General Humbert, took possession of Ballina, and 
on the 26th routed the English forces at Castlebar. On the 8th 
of September, however, they were surrounded at Ballinamuck, in 
the County of Longford, by an army of 20,000 men, assembled 
under the command of Lord Cornwallis. These are matters of 
history with which our readers are familiar. Need we, then, 
enlarge upon them further than to say that the Summer Assizes in 
consequence were postponed unlil late in September ? On Saturday, 
the 15th of that month, the Judges, Chief Baron Yelverton and 
Baron Metge, opened the Commission in Roscommon. The bar 
appeared all in military costume, as they had done during the two 
preceding Terms in the Courts of Law and Equity in Dublin. It 
was universally conceded then that the lawyers' corps were the 
most efficient of the volunteer regiments during those disturbed 
and dismal times. Their uniform was a scarlet coat, turned up 
with blue facings, yellow waistcoat, red stripe down the breeches, 
long boots, and a cocked hat. The bar, indeed, were not deficient 
in courage ; and though perhaps none of them had ever fought in 
line, yet many had faced death in the duelling field. None of the 
L'ish judges, it must be admitted, won laurels, as some of their 


English brethren had done in the navy and in the army. Every- 
one knows that Lord Erskine was a midshipman on board the 
" Tartar " in 1768, and, failing to rise in the navy, entered the 
sister service, from which he retired after having obtained a 
lieutenancy in 1773. Need we remind our readers that Lord 
Chelmsford (Frederick Thesiger), who died in 1873, fought as a 
midshipman on board the " Cambrian " at the second bombard- 
ment of Copenhagen, and that, having, both as an advocate and a 
wit, rivalled Thomas Erskine's splendid renown, he too, like 
Erskine, won the seals ? 

The military aspect of the judges and the bar on Circuit may 
have been amusing from its novelty, but what business they trans- 
acted we have been unable to learn. Much it could not have been ; 
much certainly was not anticipated, since it appears, from the list 
published shortly previous to the Circuit, that three days only 
(exclusive of Sundays and travelling days) were at the most allowed 
to any of the towns. On Wednesday, the 19th of September, 
1798, '^the counsellors assembled on horseback before the judges' 
lodgings in Koscommon. The Chief Baron mounted his horse at 
eleven o^clock, but Baron Metge, like an old woman, got into his 
carriage, and, much to the amusement of the bar, drove the whole 
way to Carrick-on- Shannon, while his servants led his horse in case 
his lordship should wish to ride ; a troop of heavy dragoons ac- 
companied them along the road ; and the bar, as well as their 
servants, were armed with pistols in their holsters, blunderbusses 
slung across their backs, and two-edged swords by their sides." ^ 

On Thursday, the 20th September, the Assizes were opened at 
Carrick-on-Shannon, and closed on Saturday night. On Monda}^ 
the 24th, the judges and bar proceeded to Sligo, and on the follow- 
ing day the Commission was opened ; it was a mere matter of 
form, for there were no trials in either of the courts, civil or 
criminal, in this county. On Wednesday following, they slept at 
Ballina, in the County of Mayo, and the next day proceeded to 
Ballinrobe ; but along the line were ghastly evidences of the past 
struggle and of the vengeance that had followed in the track of Lord 
Cornwallis. Four weeks had elapsed since the French evacuated 

' From one of the Dublin journals of that time. 



Castlebar ; they were now prisoners of war ; but scores of the mis- 
guided people who joined them had been hanged on the trees that 
overhung the road, and their bodies were left for many weeks 
dangling for the birds of the air to pick. Even while the judges 
were on circuit, '' drum-head courts-martial " continued to sit, 
either to punish or to avenge. Not high treason alone came under 
the cognizance of these abnormal courts, but other classes of crime, 
too — the houghing of cattle, for instance ^ — which in happier times 
are left to the civil magistrate for investigation. Accusation 
before them was almost tantamount to a conviction. Where the 
prisoners were for the most part illiterate; where no counsel 
appeared to defend them ; where the judges were ignorant of the 
laws of evidence, or, if not ignorant, yet, with true professional love 
of absolute command, probably despised them, what chance re- 
mained for the accused ? Alas ! that Justice should ever drop 
the scales and only wield the sword. Alas ! that liberty, too, like 
religion, should have her false prophets ; and alas ! for the mis- 
guided thousands who heeded their prophecies. How should the 
leaders of civil strife pause ere they begin ! How should they 
pause to calculate the chances of that success, without the proba- 
bility of which, no matter what the provocation, no cause can be 
holy ! " Nullum numen adest, si absit prudentia." Rebellion 
gains all or loses all, and to fail is to rivet the chains more tightly. 
Not like the Moloch of the ancients is liberty ; she delights not 
in useless sacrifice ! Not like the Saturn of mythology ; she devours 
not willingly her own children ! Rather like the prophet in the 
vision, she loves to gather together the dry bones, and bid the 
Spirit breathe upon them, that they may live and be an exceeding 
great army. 

The bar and Bench proceeded from Ballinrobe to Galway, by 
Tuam, where the latter and many of the former were hospitably 
entertained by the Protestant Archbishop, Dr. Beresford. 

On the 1st of October the Commission was opened in Galvvay 
by the Chief Baron, but we are unable to learn what business was 
transacted there. The Galway Assizes for 1799 were maiden 
ones, and the High Sheriff, William Gregory, of Coole Park, 

" Saunders's News-Letter." 



grandfather of my esteemed friend the Eight Hon. William Henry 
Gregory, late Governor- General of Ceylon, presented white gloves, 
as usual, to the judges and bar. 

No trials of interest are reported to have occurred on the Circuit 
during the first year of the present century. The Irish bar were at 
that time occupied in discussing the proposed union with Great 
Britain — a measure on which the Chancellor, Lord Clare, had set 
his heart. To carry this measure, it became necessary, above all 
things, to have the co-operation of the bar ; for the bar was the 
only great body in the State that he feared as a serious obstruction 
to his plans. In its ranks were the most accomplished statesmen, 
the most formidable debaters, and the most earnest opponents of 
the Union. The Chancellor, therefore, resolved that they should 
be won at all hazards ; and, to accomplish this end, he created a 
great number of legal offices which they were expected to solicit, 
and by which they would become vassals to the Castle. He 
doubled the number of bankrupt commissions, revived some offices, 
created others. 

In the year 1800 the Irish Parliament died its shameful death ! 
It was bought and sold. It consisted of three hundred members ; 
of these three hundred, eighty-four were returned by the counties, 
cities, and important towns, whilst two hundred and sixteen sat for 
the boroughs. Of this latter number, two hundred were returned 
by a few individuals, and not by bodies of electors ; from forty to 
fifty of the two hundred were returned by ten persons, whilst 
several of the boroughs had no resident electors whatever, and 
some of them but one ! On the whole, two-thirds of the so-called 
representatives of the people were elected by less than one hundred 
individuals! Even the county representation, the only portion of 
this miserable assembly which could in any sense be deemed repre- 
sentative, was grossly defective alike in its principles and in its 
practical agency. Let it be that this assembly deserved to die, yet 
the traffic was concerning that which no man had a right to barter ; 
and which, in the scale of crime, was the most criminal, the Irish 
who sold their country, or the English who bought it? It is not worth 
while to decide. There were patriots at the bar, there were patriots 
in the Irish House of Commons ; but they were in the minority. 
Venality had eaten into the vitals of the country ; religious ani- 




mosity had paralysed her strength. It embittered the present with 
the memory of the past. It loaded the living with the crimes of the 
dead ; and so, the victim of venality and of religious animosity, the 
Irish Parliament came to an unhallowed end ! Had that Parlia- 
ment granted Catholic Emancipation, had it reformed itself, had it 
been everything that it was not, then it never could have become 
what it did become — a suicide ! It died its death — a Parliament 
stamped by Theobald Wolfe Tone as " shamelessly profligate;" by 
Sir Jonah Barrington as " politically vicious and intolerably cor- 
rupt; '* by John Mitchell as " unpatriotic; " by Martin Haverty 
as "an assembly where the most nefarious corruption was openly 
practised ! '^ The extinction of that profligate, vicious, corrupt, 
and unpatriotic legislative assembly was hastened by the Lord 
Chancellor of that day, Lord Clare, the first Irishman who had 
held the position of Speaker of the House of Lords for many years, 
and who had borne down all opposition in that House, as he was 
himself borne down in the House of Lords in England. In his 
very first speech in the United Parliament he abused the religion 
of his ancestors, and ridiculed his country, was rebuked by the 
Lord Chancellor of Great Britain (Lord Eldon), resumed, lost his 
temper, and stigmatized the opposition as *' Jacobins and levellers. '^ 
*' What ! ^' exclaimed the Duke of Bedford; " we would not bear this 
insult from an equal; how shall we endure it at the hands of this 
mushroom nobility?'' 

The name of St. George Daly frequently appears in the cases 
tried on the Circuit. Brother of the Right Hon. Denis Daly, he 
had been in 1791 Mayor of Galway, and in 1798 Sherifi" of that 
town, which in 1799 he represented in Parliament. In the same 
year he was appointed Prime Sergeant, and was re-elected for the 
borough of Galway. A supporter' of the legislative Union, he was 
rewarded in 1801 with a seat on the Bench of the Court of Ex- 
chequer, and in 1803 was promoted to be one of the Justices of 
the King's Bench. Mr. O'Connell had a low opinion of his judicial 
powers. " Anyone,^' he said, '' that had the last word with Daly 
was sure to win.'' Advancing years compelled him to resign his 
seat on the Bench in 1822. Much of his time was, in his remaining 
years, spent at Dunsandle, in the County of Galway. 

The Prime Sergeant, Arthur Browne, was also on the Circuit, 



Of his parentage we know nothing. The College books inform us 
that he entered Trinity College in 1790, and that his father was a 
soldier. He was by birth an American, of most gentlemanly man- 
ners, excellent character^ and very considerable talents, a good 
speaker, and Member of Parliament for the University of Dublin. 
He had by his learning become a Fellow, and Professor of Law. 
From his entrance into Parliament he had been a steady, zealous, 
and able supporter of the rights of Ireland. He had never deviated ; 
he would accept no office ; he had attached himself to Mr. Ponsonby, 
and was supposed to be one of the truest and most unassailable 
supporters of Ireland. In the session of 1799 he had taken a most 
unequivocal, decisive, and ardent part against the Union, and had 
spoken against it as a crime, and as the ruin of the country : he 
was believed to be incorruptible. " Nevertheless he was corrupted, 
and recanted every word he had ever uttered, deserted from the 
country, supported the Union, accepted a bribe from the Minister, 
was afterwards, in 1802, appointed Prime Sergeant ; but shame 
haunted him, he hated himself; an amiable man fell a victim to 
corruption. He rankled and pined, and died of a wretched mind 
and a broken constitution.'' ^ On the Connaught Circuit, which 
he joined in 1796, he was in extensive business. Had he lived, 
he must have reaped the highest rewards his profession afforded. 
With his death in 1805 died the office of Prime Sergeant, and the 
Prime Sergeantcy, which had lasted five hundred years, was 
then abolished. It is worthy of observation that the office of 
Sergeant in Ireland widely differed from that of Sergeant in 
England. In Ireland for three hundred years there never was 
more than one Sergeant at a time, that is from 1326 to 1627, 
the appointment being by patent, during which period it was his 
duty to accompany the Lord Deputy in his tours through the 
country, for which he received the handsome sum of four shill- 
ings a-day. We are now speaking of times as remote as 1357. 
Coming down to 1374, we find Prime Sergeant Cotterel appointed 
by patent to arrest ships, take inquisitions, and hold Sessions in 
the County of Wexford, for which he was allowed aforementioned 
salary and eight horses. Sergeant BarnewelFs fee in 1422 was 

* Sir Jonah Barrington's '^ Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation," p. 443, n. 



d610, also an additional £5, as he was obliged to attend all Parlia- 
ments, Privy Councils, &c., on behalf of the Crown. Although the 
Sergeant had precedence of the Attorney-General, his fee fell far 
short of what the latter officer received. Thus Sergeant FitzSymon 
in 1574 had his fee of ^10, whilst at the same time the Queen's 
Attorney- General, in addition to his fee of £10, had £100 '' for his 
better encouragement and supportation of his charges, together with 
the wages of three horsemen and two footmen." In 1627 a second 
Sergeant, with a like fee, £10, was appointed, also " to have prece- 
dence over the Attorney and Solicitor-General as the Prime Sergeant 
had, and as was used in England." (Pat. Rolls). In 1761 a third 
Sergeant was appointed ; and so matters continued until 1805, when 
the Prime Sergeantcy was abolished. In that year Arthur Moore 
was appointed " first Sergeant" only, the Attorney- General thence- 
forward taking precedence, after him the Solicitor-General, and 
next after him the first Sergeant-at-law — the Sergeants in Ireland 
being all appointed by letters patent. In England the Sergeants- 
at-law, formerly, constituted the whole legal profession, and the 
coif was to the advocates of those days all that the wig is to a 
barrister nowadays ; and from the ranks of the Sergeants the 
judges were chosen, the barristers being then apprentices of the 
Sergeants, and sitting outside a bar that was drawn across the 
Court. The coif of which we have spoken was a white ecclesiastical 
skull-cap to cover the shaven tonsure, and outside the coif, and to 
hide the scandal of an ecclesiastic appearing in Court, after the 
Court of Rome condemned the Common Law Courts, they used to 
wear a black cap, which is now represented by a small round black 
patch on the Sergeant's wig, almost covering the white coif. 
To illustrate this, place a penny on a five-shilling piece. The penny 
will represent the black coif cap, and the five-shilling piece, being 
larger than the penny, will represent so much of the coif as is un- 
covered by the cap. The robes worn by the Sergeants were violet, 
the same as the judges now wear, while the judges wore scarlet. 
Until very modern times there was no such rank as Queen's Counsel, 
which was the invention of Lord Bacon. But it was not until the 
accession of George I. that the order was recognised, and the gowns 
that they wear are not of a historic nature, merely mourning gowns, 
once used by the Sergeants at the decease of either the sovereign, the 


Lord Chancellor, or some other dignitary. In Ireland the bar, not 
being Sergeants, were the apprentices who sat outside the bar in 
Westminster, and who were called on certificates, by the Lord Chan- 
cellor of Ireland, for the Irish bar were bound to learn the laws 
in the English Inns of Court, not bound by the English, but by the 
Irish Benchers. For the English Benchers turned them out ; and 
accordingly in 1428, at a Parliament held in Dublin, a memorial 
was drawn up, signed by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and pre- 
sented to the king, " complaining of the exclusion of the Irish law 
students from the English Inns of Court, whither they were wont to 
resort to learn English laws, as they had done in times past " : — 

" Sovereign Lord, — These are the articles which we, your 
humble lieges, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, 
of your land of Ireland, at your Parliament held in your City of 
Dublin, assembled before John Sutton, knight, your Lieutenant in 
the said land, the Friday next after the Feast of All-Hallows : We 
have commissioned Henry Fortesque, Chief Justice of Ireland, and 
Thomas Strange, knight, to deliver to jon these articles that follow, 

" We beseech of you to consider that inasmuch your laws of this 
land in every of your counties at all times have been used both in 
pleading and in giving judgments according to the laws used in 
England; and the learned men here have learned your said laws in 
the Inns of Court in your realms of England, and they have now 
been refused to be admitted into the said Inns of Court, contrary to 
ancient custom that hath been used in times before this ; and we 
beseech you that ordinances may be made there, that your liege 
people of this land that go into England for their said learning, 
may be received into the Inns of Court as they have been of old 
times, so that the laws in this land may be continued to be learnt, 
considering that otherwise, when those w^ho are now learned therein 
shall be dead, there shall be none in this land that shall know your 
laws, unless it be learnt there, which shall be a great disprofit to 
you and a great misery for us your poor lieges." ^ 

Another distinguished member of the Circuit was Luke Fox, a 
man of plebeian origin. He had been an usher in a school, was a 

* Close Rolls. Betham's "History of the Constitution of England and 
Ireland," p. 353. 



person o vulgar manners and coarse appearance, who had worked 
himself up, surmounting every difficulty ; he won a sizarship in 
Trinity College, and next a scholarship. Supporting himself by 
grinding (to use a collegiate expression for taking pupils), he put 
his name on the Inns of Court, and we find him in 1793 a barrister 
on the Connaught Circuit. His next move was to marry a niece of 
Lord Ely, who had him returned to Parliament as one of his 
automata. In the divisions on the Union, he abstained from voting, 
and his abstention was rewarded in 1800 with a seat on the Bench 
in the Court of Common Pleas. In 1807 he went as judge the 
Northern Circuit, a region which was then predominated over by 
Orange magistrates and magnates. When he came to Ennis- 
killen, he proceeded to deliver the jail. The names of two prisoners 
named Breslin and Maguire, who had been committed by Lord 
Enniskillen, without any offence charged, were returned to him, 
and while the committal specified no offence, it directed Breslin to 
be kept in solitary confinement. The judge directed the prisoners 
to be brought up before him, but the prisoners were gone, having 
been removed by an order of Lord Enniskillen. Thereupon the 
judge required the Earl personally to appear before him, but he 
disregarding the order, was fined a£200. The Marquis of Abercorn 
had the unblushing effrontery to bring the matter by way of com- 
plaint before the House of Lords. A prosecution of the learned 
judge was in all seriousness demanded, but the matter fell to the 
ground. This judge frequently went the Connaught Circuit, until 
he resigned his seat on the Bench in 1816. He died on the 26th 
August, 1818.' 

Sergeant Duquerry, m.p., who had been in earlier years one of 
the ornaments of the Connaught Circuit, died in the year ISO!.'* 
He was a great orator at the bar, but was a failure in the House 
of Commons. In 1787 he had been raised to the dignity of 
Sergeant, which in 1793 he resigned. Had he retained his intel- 
lect, his fame would have rivalled, probably, that of Plunket, 
Burke, Burrows, O'Connell, or Shell. The long vacation of 
1793 he spent in making a tour of the Holy Land, and he had 
taken copious notes of his travels ; but a sun-stroke, which he 

1 " Gentlemen's Magazine," 1819, p. 283. 

2 "Gentlemen's Magazine," 1804, p. 601. 



got on his homeward voyage in the Mediterranean, deprived him of 
his intellect, and for several years before his death in 1803 he 
groped in utter idiotcyJ 

Of the members of the Connaught Bar Society who had been 
promoted to the Bench, there was one, Kobert Johnson, who, in 
1806, was compelled to resign his seat in the Common Pleas, 
under the following circumstances : — 

On the night of the insurrection organised by Kobert Emmett 
in 1803, the Chief Justice, Lord Kilwarden, was barbarously mur- 
dered in Thomas Street. Some time after that unfortunate event 
Emmett was discovered, arrested, tried, and executed. On his 
trial Mr. Plunket was employed for the Crown. The circum- 
stances of that trial are no novelty, but the result of it was a paper 
which appeared in Cobbett's '* Annual Kegister " of the 10th of 
December, 1803, signed *' Juverna," which falsely represented 
Emmett as describing Plunket thus : '^ that viper whom my 
father nourished ! He it was from whose lips I first imbibed those 
principles and doctrines which now by their effects drag me to my 
grave ; and he it is who is now brought forward as my prosecutor, 
and who, by an unheard-of exercise of the prerogative, has wantonly 
lashed with a speech to evidence the dying son of a former friend, 
when that son had prodaced no evidence, had made no defence, 
but, on the contrary, had acknowledged the charge and submitted 
to his fate." 

For publishing this report, alleged to have been an outrageous, 
false, scandalous, and malicious libel, Plunket brought a civil 
action in England against Cobbett, and obtained a verdict ; £500 

Cobbett gave up the manuscript, which was sworn to be in the 
handwriting of Mr. Justice Johnson, whom it was resolved to 

For this purpose, on the 20th of July, 1804, an Act was passed, 
by which it was enacted that a warrant obtained from a Court in 
Great Britain might be transmitted to Ireland, and executed there, 
and the accused transferred for trial to the Court from which the 
warrant had issued. Accordingly, on the 24th of November, 1804, a 
warrant was issued against Mr. Justice Johnson by the Chief Justice 

^ " Gentlemen's Magazine," p. 601. 



of the King's Bench at Westminster, founded on a charge of lihelj 
This warrant was endorsed by two magistrates for the Countj^ of 
Dublin, and under it the judge was arrested at his house at Miltown 
on the 18th of January, 1805. Johnson appHed in the Court of 
King's Bench for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, to test the legality of 
the arrest. If illegal, the order must be for his release. The ques- 
tion, therefore, went into the King's Bench, and was there argued 
in support of the motion for the prisoner by Curran, with whom 
were Messrs. MacCarthy and William Johnson, of the Leinster 
Circuit, and by the Prime Sergeant, Arthur Browne, a Connaught 
lawyer, and by the Attorney-General 0' Grady for the Crown ; Mr. 
Justice Day was for the release, Chief Justice Downes and Mr. 
Justice Daly against it. 

Another writ was then applied for from the Court of Exchequer, 
and Johnson was brought up on the 4th of February, 1805, 
before the full Court, the chief of whom was Barry Yelverton, 
Lord Avon more. Mr. Curran, who had formerly been a friend of 
the Chief Baron, but who in latter years had been estranged from 
him, contended that the arrest was illegal; he said he was not 
ignorant that the extraordinary construction contended for by the 
Crown had just received the sanction of the Court of King's 
Bench in Ireland. He was aware that he might have the mor- 
tification of being told in another country of that unhappy deci- 
sion. " And," he added, ** I foresee in what confusion I shall 
hang down my head when I am told it. But I cherish the con- 
solatory hope that I shall be able to tell them that I had an 
old and learned friend (Lord Avonmore), whom I would put 
above all the sweepings of their hall, who was of a different 
opinion ; who had derived his ideas of civil liberty from the purest 
fountains of Athens and Kome ; who had fed the youthful vigour 
of his studious mind with the theoretic knowledge of their wisest 
philosophers and statesmen, and who had refined that theory into 
the quick and exquisite sensibility of moral instinct, by contemplat- 
ing the practices of their most illustrious examples. 

** I would add, that if he had seemed to hesitate it was but for 
a moment ; that his hesitation was but like the passing cloud that 
floats across the morning sun and hides it from the view, and does 
so for a moment hide it, by involving the spectator without even 


approaching the face of the luminary. And this, this soothing 
hope" (in allusion to their long but now broken friendship) '^I draw 
from the dearest and tenderest recollections of my life, from the 
remembrance of those Attic nights and those refections of the gods 
which we have partaken with those admired, and respected, and 
beloved companions who have gone before us, over whose ashes 
the most precious tears of Ireland have been shed." 

Here Lord Avonmore burst into tears. " Yes, my good lord, 
I see you do not forget them. I see their sacred forms passing in 
sad review before your memory ; I see your pained and softened 
fancy recalling those happy meetings, where the innocent enjoy- 
ment of social mirth became expanded into the noble warmth of 
social virtue, and the horizon of the board became enlarged into 
the horizon of man, where the swelling heart conceived and com- 
municated the pure and generous purpose, where my slenderer and 
younger taper imbibed its borrowed light from the more mature 
and redundant fountain of yours. Yes, my lord, we can remember 
those nights without any other regret than that they can never 
more return, for — 

' We spent tliem not in toys, or lust, or wine, 
But search of deep philosophy, 
Wit, eloquence, and poesy ; 
Arts which I loved, for they, my friend, were thine.' " 

The Court then rose for an hour, and Lord Avonmore sent for 
Mr. Curran, and they were reconciled each to the other, his lord- 
ship declaring that unworthy artifices had been used to separate 
them, and that they should never succeed in future.^ 

On the return of their lordships, William Johnson, brother of 
Mr. Justice Johnson, followed on the same side, and Prime Sergeant 
Browne for the Crown. On the 7th of February the judgment of 
the Court was given against the release (Baron Smith dissenting). 
The learned judge was then taken in custody to England, a novel, 
and a "sorry sight" to see a judge in the dock! The trial 
commenced at the bar of the Court of King's Bench on the 23rd 
of November, 1805, and resulted in the jury finding a verdict 
of guilty. Sentence was deferred to the next term ; but in the 
meantime the Whig Government of Mr. Fox came in. They 

I " Life of Curran," by his Son, Vol. i., p. 148. 



dropped all proceedings in the matter, and allowed him to resign 
on a pension of £1,200 a year. 

Rohert Johnson/ who had been very popular on the Connaught 
Circuit, was a well-read and entertaining man, extremely acute, 
an excellent writer and an agreeable companion. He was succeeded 
on the Bench by Mr. Justice Fletcher, a clever man and an ex- 
cellent lawyer ; but he had a surly temper, together with a truly 
feminine vanity concerning his personal appearance. Wherefore 
this vanity it is difficult to conceive, for he was a hard-featured 
man, with a red, pimply nose, heavy, shaggy eyebrows, which over- 
hung a pair of piercing eyes, and when the whole face was sur- 
mounted by the judge^s wig he presented a most extraordinary 
appearance. He was fond of going the Connaught Circuit, and 
enjoyed the wit and drollery of the bar, the witnesses and the 
suitors immensely ; all the more, be it observed, as the flashes of 
fun must ever in such case be for the most part at some other man's 
expense than that of the judge. Fletcher was Crown Judge at the 
Galway Summer Assizes of 1813, and was trying a case of no great 
importance, when an Irish-speaking witness was called to give 
testimony. The interpreter was a solicitor, Mr. John Kir wan, of 
the family of Glan, a most respectable gentleman, and member of 
one of the oldest families in the County of Galway. He spoke the 
Latin language with great fluency, and was perhaps the wittiest 
man in the province. He was very eccentric ; some said that 
his eccentricity bordered on insanity, and he is remembered to 
this day as Cracked John Kirwan. Judge Fletcher disliked him 
much; for, being a privileged person, it was his habit to go 
into the judge/s chamber and eat his luncheon without invitation, 
and then return to Court and proceed w^ith his interpretation. On 
the day we speak of the judge retired to lunch ; but there was 
nothing left for him to eat, for Kirwan had devoured it all. Judge 
Fletcher returned to Court in a rage, his face swollen with anger. 
The jury reassembled, and the Irish-speaking witness got on the 
table, the interpreter by his side. It so chanced that the former, 
looking steadfastly at the judge, exclaimed in Irish, ^' Day vio 
chianseois, is an fear is granach dha cJionnairch me ariamhJ' A 
suppressed titter followed this observation. The judge at onco 

» Sir Jonah Barrington's *' Personal Sketches," pp. 245, 24C. 


required the interpreter to tell him what the witness had said, but 
he answered, *'0h, my lord, I could not tell your lordship." 
''You must tell, sir," replied the judge. The other vowed that he 
could not do so even though St. Peter came down to ask him. 
The judge vowed that he should tell, and to support his vow two 
constables were called in. " And now, sir,'' said the judge, "I am 
about to commit you to gaol for a month." " Oh," said Kirwan, 
'• if it goes to that, I'll tell it without scruple. He says, my 
lord" — "Speak slowly, sir, as I must have it on my notes" — 
"that, upon my conscience, you are the ugliest man that ever I 
saw." The judge laid down his pen in anger. Shouts of laughter 
followed this remark so faithfully translated ; and as the trial 
pi'oceeded the half- starved and half- savage judge failed for a time, 
amid the convulsive and suppressed laughter of the audience, to 
give his attention to the case before him. 

The Province of Connaught was now once more verging on 
revolt ; and disturbances had risen to so alarming a height in the 
northern counties of Connaught during the whole of the year 1806, 
that the Whig Government issued, in the month of December, a 
special commission to Chief Justice Downes and Baron George, 
with the view of striking terror into a body of people styling them- 
selves " Threshers." On the 5th of December the Grand Jury of 
the County of Sligo found true bills against John M'Donough, 
William Kearney, and many others, " for breaking and entering, 
on the 2nd of September last, after sun-set and before sun-rise, the 
dwelling-house of Peter O'Neil, at Cartron, in said] county, and 
forcibly taking away his money." There were several other counts 
in the indictment, one of them for carding with a weaver's card the 
the said O'Neil, and thereby inflicting grievous bodily pain upon 
him, in order to compel him to enter the unlawful confederacy 
called the " Threshers." The jury were then sworn, and the 
prisoner given in charge, Messrs. Plunket and Bush, Attorney and 
Solicitor-General, appearing for the Crown, while with them were 
associated several lawyers of the Circuit, Messrs. Whitestone, 
James Darcy, and James Kirwan. 

The prisoners were defended by Mr. Martin F. Lynch, Mr. 
Guthrie, Mr. R. Blakeny, and Mr. George J. Browne. 

The Attorney- General stated the case for the Crown. He said 
that this was a branch of a vast conspiracy got up to overturn the 



Church, seize upon her property, and starve her clergy. Nor were 
the aims of this lawless and unchristian confederacy confined to at- 
tacks on the Established Church, for there was an association bind- 
ing their misguided members not to pay the Roman Catholic clergy 
either their dues. " The overturning of altars, the extinction of all 
religious principles, the casting off of all regard for a future world, and 
the rending of the ties which bind them to earth as well as to heaven, 
were the aim of that society to which the prisoners belonged.'^ 

Witnesses were then examined to bring the several offences set 
forth in the indictment home to the prisoners, and, the case for the 
Crown closing — 

The prisoner's counsel, Mr. M. Lynch, repelled the accusation 
that they sought to rob either their own clergy or the ministers of 
the Established Church of their dues, and denied that they were 
members of any such body as '*' the Threshers." They proved to 
demonstration an alibi on the 2nd of September, the day named, 
and they called witnesses to prove that on that day they were 
attending a fair at a distant town in the County of Cavan. 

The prisoners were acquitted, but in the County of Mayo, where 
the Right Hon. Denis Browne had pioneered the operations of 
the commission, a different result was attained, and about a dozen 
persons were found guilty and executed. 

A.D. 1808. — In this year the first mail-coach started from 
Dublin to Galway, another to Sligo, each with a treble guard, 
armed with blunderbusses. On arriving at Ballinasloe there was 
a diligence proceeded to Castlebar, thus contributing to the comfort 
of the Circuit which barristers must avail themselves of, though 
their doing so was contrary to the rule of the Conn aught Bar. 

We are now about to lay before our readers the narrative of a 
case deeply sensational, in which a distinguished member and 
sometime secretary of the Connaught Bar Society was plaintiff, and 
sought to recover from the defendant £20,000 damages for criminal 
conversation with his wife. The case is that of Guthrie v. Sterne^ 
which was tried before Lord Norbury in the Court of Common 
Pleas in Dublin on the 15th of July, 1815. 

Messrs. Daniel O'Connell,^ Whitestone, k.c, Vandeleur, k.c, 

1 Mr. O'Connell, though not one of His Majesty's Counsel, took prece- 
dence next after the Attorney- and Solicitor-General, his patent of precedence 
dating 1 Wm. lY., a.d. 1830. 


Crampton, North, Wahli, Phillips, and Costello were counsel for 
the plaintiff, all of them, save Mr. O'Connell, being members of the 
Connaught Bar Society. 

Messrs. Burroughs, k.c, Goolcl, k.c, Burton, k.c, and Antisell 
appeared for the defendant. 

Although Mr. Phillips had been but three years on the Circuit, 
he had already gone to the foremost rank ; he had been previously 
on the north-west Circuit, but, having got into some scrape with 
the seniors of that bar, for having written lampoons on the father 
and on one of their quondam circuiters, Mr. Justice Fletcher, he 
joined the Circuit of his native province in 1812. Born in Sligo 
in 1787, he had spent his early years in that town, had entered the 
University of Dublin when he was fifteen, and had been called to 
the bar in 1811. Having remained some years on the Connaught 
Circuit, he went, in 1821, to the English bar, and there declined, 
during the chancellorship of Lord Brougham, a silk gown, and 
also a seat on the Judicial Bench of Calcutta. In 1842 he was 
appointed by Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst a Commissioner of Bank- 
ruptcy at Liverpool, and in 1846 Sir James Graham made him 
Commissioner of the Court of Insolvent Debtors, the duties of 
which he discharged with great credit until his decease in 1859. 
Phillips was the author of several poems : " The Consolations of 
Erin," '' The Loves of Celestine and St. Aubert," both composed 
in 1811, and *' The Emerald Isle," composed in 1812, which the 
''Quarterly Review" says "was a perfect stream of praise, a 
shower of roses on every person who is named in it, from alpha to 
omega.^^ ^ Mr. Phillips's speech in Guthrie v. Sterne, delivered 
in 1815, was published in book form in 1816, and immediately 
became the subject of severe criticism.^ He felt aggrieved by the 
censures of his reviewers, and answered the charges in a letter to 
the editor of the "Edinburgh Review." In 1818 his " Recollec- 
tions of John Philpot Carran " appeared, a work thus noticed by 
Lord Brougham : — " This is one of the most extraordinary pieces 
of biography ever produced. Nothing can be more lively and 
picturesque than its representations of the famous original. The 

^ " London Quarterly Review," Vol. xvi., p. 33. 

=» " Quarterly Review," Vol. xvi., pp. 27, 37, 389. " Edinburgh Review," 
Yol. XXV., p. 389. 



reader can hardly be said not to have known Curran and Currant 

Of this distinguished lawyer Mr. Christopher North thus 
speaks : " Charles Phillips was worth a gross of Shells ; there were 
frequent flashes of fiery imagination and strains of genuine feeling 
in his speeches, that showed nature intended him for an orator.^' 
Of his remarkable speech delivered in Guthrie v. Sterne, for crimi- 
nal conversation, tried before Lord Norbury, many and various 
opinions have been expressed, both in the United Kingdom and in 

Mr. Costello opened the pleadings by stating that it was an 
action brought against the defendant for criminal conversation 
with the plaintiff^s wife, and that damages were laid at £20,000. 
Mr. Phillips stated the case. 

" After some prefatory remarks, he said that the plaintiff was 
Mr. John Guthrie — by birth, by education, by profession, by — 
better than all — by practice and hy principles, a gentleman. He 
called on the jury to believe that it was not from the commonplace 
of advocacy, or from the blind partiality of friendship, that he said 
of the plaintiff, whether considering the virtues that adorn life, or 
the blandishments that endear it, he had few superiors. Surely, 
if a spirit that disdained dishonour, if a heart that knew not guile, 
if a life above reproach, and a character beyond suspicion could have 
been a security against misfortunes, his lot must have been happi- 

** He (the counsel) was then speaking in the presence of that 
profession of which Mr. Guthrie was an ornament, and with whose 
members his manhood had been familiar, and he must say of him 
with a confidence that defied reproach, whether he considered him 
in his private or in his public station, as a man or as a lawyer, that 
there never breathed a being less capable of exciting enmity towards 
himself, or of offering, even by implication, an offence to others. 
Having spent his youth in the cultivation of a mind which must 
one day have led him to eminence, he became a member of that 
profession by which he was now surrounded. Possessing as he did 
a moderate independence, and looking forward to the most flattering 
prospects, it was natural for him to select for his partner in life 
some one who should adorn his fortunes and reduce his toils. He 

CRIM. CON. 191 

found sucli a persoD, or thought hs found her, in the person of a 
Miss Warren, the only daughter of an eminent solicitor. 

" Young, beautiful, and accomplished, she was adorned with all 
that earth or Heaven could bestow to make her amiable. Virtue 
never found a fairer temple ; beauty never veiled a purer sanctuary. 
The graces of her mind retained the admiration which her beauty 
had attracted, and the eye her charms fired became subdued and 
chastened in the modesty of their association. She was in the 
dawn of life, with all its fragrance around her, and yet so pure, 
that even the blush which sought to hide her lustre but disclosed 
the vestal deity that burned beneath it! No wonder an adoring 
husband anticipated all the joys this world could give him ; no 
wonder the parental eye which beamed upon their imion saw in the 
perspective an old age of happiness and a posterity of honour. 
Methinks I see them at the sacred altar joining those hands which 
Heaven commanded none should separate, repaid for many a pang 
of anxious nurture by the sweet smile of filial piety, and, in the 
holy rapture of the rite, blessing the power that blessed their 
children, and gave them hope that their names should live here- 
after. It was virtue's vision ; none but fiends could envy it. 

*' Year after year confirmed the anticipation — four lovely children 
blessed their union. Nor was their love the summer passion of pros- 
perity ; misfortune proved, afflictions chastened it. He owed his ad- 
versity to the benevolence of his spirit — he went security for friends ; 
those friends deceived him, and he was obliged to seek in other lands 
that safe asylum which his own denied him. He was glad to accept 
an offer of professional business in Scotland during his temporary 

*' With a conjugal devotion Mrs. Guthrie accompanied him, and 
in her smile the soil of a stranger was a home — the sorrows of 
adversity were dear to him. During their residence in Scotland, a 
period of about a year, they lived as they had done in Ireland, and 
as they continued to do till this calamitous occurrence, in a state of 
uninterrupted happiness. Happy at home — happy in a husband's 
love, happy in her parent's fondness — happy in the children she 
had nursed — Mrs. Guthrie carried into every circle (and there was 
none in which her society was not courted) that cheerfulness which 
never was a companion of guilt or a stranger to innocence. Her 



husband saw her the pride of his family, the favourite of his friends, 
at once the organ and ornament of his happiness. His ambition 
awoke, his industry redoubled, and that fortune, which, though for 
a season it may frown, never totally abandons probity and virtue, 
had begun to smile upon him. He was beginning to rise in the 
ranks of his competitors, and rising with such a character, that 
emulation itself rather rejoiced than envied. 

" It was at this crisis, gentlemen, in this noon- day of his 
happiness and day-spring of his fortune, that, to the ruin of both, 
the defendant became acquainted with his family. With the 
serpent's wile and the serpent's wickedness, he stole into the Eden 
of domestic life — poisoning all that was pure, polluting all that was 
lovely — defying God — destroying man — a demon in the disguise 
of virtue — a herald of hell in the paradise of innocence. His 
name, gentlemen, is William Peter Baker Danstanville Sterne. Of 
his character he (counsel) knew but little, and was sorry he knew so 
much ; but, if he was rightly instructed^ he was one of those vain 
and vapid coxcombs whose vices tinge the frivolity of their follies 
with something of a more odious character than ridicule — with just 
head enough to contrive crime, but not heart enough to feel for 
its consequences — one of those fashionable insects that folly has 
painted and fortune plumed for the annoyance of our atmosphere — 
dangerous alike in their torpidity and their animation, infepting 
where they fly, and poisoning wdiere they repose." 

In this impassioned strain counsel proceeded to state how the 
parties became acquainted, and to describe the efforts made by the 
defendant to rob the plaintiff of the affections of his wife. He then 
went on to give a glowing narrative of how Mr. Guthrie went in 
July, 1814, to attend the dinner usually given by the Connaught 
Bar Society, previous to going circuit, and how on returning home 
he discovered that his wife had fled : — 

" Alas ! he was never to behold her more. Imagine, if you 
can, the frenzy of his astonishment on his being informed by Mrs. 
Porter, the daughter of the former landlady, that, about two hours 
before, she had attended Mrs. Guthrie to a confectioner's shop, 
that a carriage had drawn up at the corner of the street, into which 
a gentleman, whom she recognized to be Mr. Sterne, had handed 
her, and that they instantly departed* Mr. Guthrie could hear no 


more : even at the dead of night he rushed into the street, as if in 
its own dark hour he could discover guilt's recesses. In vain, a 
miserable maniac, did he traverse the silent streets of the metro- 
polis, affrighting virtue from its slumbers with the spectre of its 
ruin. But imagine you see him, when the day had dawned, re- 
turning wretched to his deserted dwelling, seeing in every chamber 
a memorial of his loss, and hearing every tongueless object eloquent 
of his woe. Imagine you see him, in the reverie of his grief, trying 
to persuade himself it was all a vision, and awakened only to the 
horrid truth by his helpless children asking him for their mother / 

*' Gentlemen, this is not a picture of fancy; it literally occurred : 
there is something less of romance in the reflection which his chil- 
dren awakened in the mind of their afflicted father ; he ordered that 
they should be at once dressed in mourning. How rational some- 
times are the ravings of insanity ! For all the purposes of maternal 
life, poor innocents ! they have no mother ; her tongue can no more 
teach, her hand can no more tend them ; for them there is no 
' speculation in her eyes ' — to them her life is worse than death ; 
as if the awful grave had yawned her forth, she moves before them, 
shrouded in sin, the guilty burden of the peaceless sepulchre. 
Better far their little feet had followed in her funeral than that the 
hour which taught her value should reveal her vice ; mourning her 
loss, they might have blessed her memor}^, and shame need not 
have rolled its fires into the fountain of her sorrow. 

" As soon as reason became sufficiently collected, Mr. Guthrie 
pursued the fugitives ; he traced them successively to Kildare, to 
Carlow, to Waterford, to Milford Haven, on through Wales, and 
finally into Devonshire, where all clue was lost. I will not follow 
them through their joyless journey. But philosophy never taught 
and the pulpit never enforced a more imperative morality than the 
itinerary of that accursed tour promulgates. Oh, if there be a 
matron or a maid in this island balancing between the alternatives 
of virtue and crime, trembling between heaven and hell, let her 
pause upon this one, out of the many horrors I could depict. I 
will give you the relation in the words of my brief; I cannot improve 
on the simplicity of the recital. 

" On the 7th of July they arrived at Milford Haven ; the captain 
of the packet dined with them, and was astonished at the magnifi- 



cence of her dress. The next day they dined alone, but towards 
evening the servant heard Mr. Sterne scolding and beating her ! 
Mrs. Guthrie then rushed into the drawing-room, and throwing her- 
self in an agony on the sofa, she exclaimed : — * Oh, what an un- 
happy wretch am 1 1 I have left my home where I was happy, 
seduced by a man who has deceived me. My poor husband ! my 
dear children ! Oh, if even they would let my little William live 
with me, it would be some consolation to my broken heart.' 

*' * Alas ! nor children more can she behold, 
Nor friends, nor sacred home.' " 

Mr. Phillips then called on the jury for exemplary damages. 

Evidence was then given in support of the plaintiiff 's case, and 
Mr. Burrows, e.g., on behalf of the defendant, spoke in mitigation 
of damages. 

Lord Norbury, in his charge to the jury^ expressed his " great 
satisfaction that the trial of this cause had given an opportunity to 
the counsel who had stated the plaintiff's case of delivering a speech 
which he heard with unmixed pleasure — a speech containing as 
brilliant a display of classic eloquence, and as fine effusions of 
manly feeling, as ever fell from the lips of any counsel in these 
courts. He has detailed to you the leading features of this case, 
and has drawn on his fancy for a striking picture of the defendant, 
Mr. William Peter Baker Dunstanville Sterne. Gentlemen, 
in portraying the character of the defendant, Mr. Phillips has (if he 
might use a nautical expression) raked him fore and aft, from stem 
to stern. But had the defendant been in the possession of as many 
Christian virtues as Christian names, he would not have been guilty 
of the crime of seduction." 

Having commented at great length on the evidence, his lordship 
concluded by informing them that " he would not detain them by a 
repetition of the travels of the defendant and his unhappy victim 
from Carlow to Waterford, and from thence across the Channel to 
Milford Haven ; but the jury would agree with him, that the cruel 
treatment the unfortunate lady received there formed the most 
disgusting part of * Sterne's Sentimental Journey.' With these 
observations he would leave the question of damages entirely in the 


hands of the jury." The jury then retired, and in less than an 
hour they returned with a verdict for £5,000. 

Sterne was now a ruined man. Being unable to pay the 
damages, he was arrested and thrown into the Marshalsea, where 
he remained for eight-and-twenty years ; for damages in this de- 
scription of action, as the law stood^ could not be wiped away by 
the Insolvent Debtors' Act. 

Mr. Guthrie returned after a few years to practise at his pro- 
fession ; but his heart was shaken by sorrow to its inmost depths. 
He remained to the end of his life a member of that Circuit he 
loved so well. Of his faithless wife, her name, as if she had never 
been, was banished from each lip and ear. We have heard it said, 
with what truth we know not, that she retired from the world, and 
won to heaven her dreary road by blighted and remorseful years. 
That may be so ; but the truth, we apprehend, is that 

'* Her fate lies hid 
Like dust beneath the coffin lid ! " 

The old saw of "many men of many minds," was never better 
illustrated than it was in this year, 1814, on our Circuit ; the 
question that arose at the Spring Assizes being quataor j^edibus, the 
same as that which arose at next Summer Assizes ; the judges 
being different. In both it was the barbarous system of duelling ; 
in both men were shot dead ; and in combats where glory was 
not to be won, men who had fought neither for faith, nor for 
fireside, nor for home, nor for country. At the Spring Assizes was 
put upon his trial a gentleman named Fenton, moving in a respect- 
able walk of life, a solicitor who had a dispute with his counsel, a 
Mr. Hillas, a barrister on the Circuit, concerning fees, which one 
said were paid, and which the other said were not. The counsellor 
and the attorney went out in the neighbourhood of Sligo, the 
ground was measured, the word was given, and Hillas was shot 
through the heart. It was for this, at the Sligo Assizes, was in- 
dicted the man who had robbed his fellow-man of his life. True 
bills having been found by the Grand Jury, the prisoner was given 
in charge to the jury. The circumstances which were proved were 
not sought to be disproved; and Mr. Justice Fletcher, turning to the 
jury, recapitulated the facts which they had just heard. The law, 


he said, was plain, that it was a case of wilful murder ; but he 
vowed to God he never heard of a fairer duel in the whole course 
of his life. Need it be said that, without turning in the box, the 
jury acquitted the prisoner. At the next Summer Assizes Mr. 
Justice Mayne presided in the Crown Court at Carrick-on- Shannon. 
The unbending gravity that was never seen to smile was his, and 
before him a duellist had to struggle for his life ; and he found, too, 
that jurors lent him in many instances a willing ear. Other judges 
followed in his footsteps. And now, in his charge to the Grand 
Jury, he is reported to have said that " duelling was the pest of 
society, and that it must be put down by the strong hand and the 
outstretched arm of the law. It was intolerable that a poor man 
should suffer punishment for a fight at a fair, when with warm 
blood men were slain, while the rich man should be acquitted and 
glorified for a fight, when with cold blood his fellow-man w^as slain 
by him." The bills in this case were then found — we advisedly 
refrain from giving names — and the trial proceeded. The great 
majority of the jury were for wilful murder, but the minority were 
friendly either to the system or to the prisoner, and he escaped ; 
and it was an escape ; for if the jury had found him guilty, no 
human hand could have saved him from the gallows. To Mr. 
Justice Mayne may be attributed the change that came quickly 
over the minds of men. They who had been slaves to public 
opinion now dared to brave it ; and criminal informations for chal- 
lenging, or provoking to fight a duel, became matters of frequent 
occurrence west of the Shannon. Duelling is now happily a thing 
of the past ; but it is worthy still of a place in history, and of a 
sigh and a smile of contempt. 

A.D. 1815. — On the 1st of April, was opened the County 
Gal way Court-house, for the reception of the then going judges of 
Assize, Justices Fletcher and Osborne, who pronounced a well- 
merited eulogium on the Grand Juries who had, in three j^ears, 
commenced, prosecuted, and finished so splendid a testimonial of 
their high respect for the laws, and of their anxiety for the due 
administration of public justice. The plot of ground on which 
the Court-house stands was, in times past, consecrated to the 
service of the Most High, when the Franciscan Friars dwelt there, 
prayed there, and preached there. By the Charter of the town of 


Galway, 21st August, 1678, the precincts of the County Court- 
house, \vhich is within the County of the Town of Galway, is 
excepted therefrom,^ and forms a portion of the County of Galway. 
A.D. 1806. — The name of George Joseph Browne disappears 
from the Connaught Bar Book in this year. He had been in many 
of the cases of interest on the Circuit ; but how he got into business 
it is impossible to guess, for he came from the dregs of society. 
His name appears as legatee in the will of Francis Higgins, the 
" Sham Squire," who thus, in 1791, writes : " I leave to my friend, 
George Joseph Browne, of Chancery Lane, Barrister, his security 
for money in my possession, together with ^620 for mourning, and 
the like to his wife for mourning, and also to his son Joseph aG150, 
to be paid when he attains the age of twenty-one." Mr. FitzPatrick 
says that this George Joseph Browne was a member of the Irish 
bar, who had been one of the Sham Squire's staff on the " Free- 
man's Journal," but originally "a shoeless, shirtless, strolling 
player in the wilds of Connemara," as Magee records. From 1787 
to 1800, he is announced " as the Sham's chief quill-driver." A 
parody on "The Night before Larry was Stretched'^ pointedly 
alludes to Browne : — 

" Oh ! de night before Edgwort was tried, 
De council dey met in despair ; 
George Jos — he was there, and beside 
Was a doctor, a lord, and a player." 

" The eulogies of Lord Chief Justice Clonmell's unconstitu- 
tional conduct, which appeared in the Sham's Journal, are under- 
stood to have been written by Browne. Browne, who became a 
Crown Counsel, in dedicating to Lord Clonmell his report of the 
trial of Mr. Keon for the murder of George Nugent Keynolds, 
dilates on " the patience, perspicuity, legal learning, and sound 
ability that at present adorn that Court." 

n 2 

* Hardiman's '^ History of Galway," App. xliv. 

**' Ireland before the Union," by William J. FitzPatrick, Esq, ll.d., 
M.R.I. A., p. 105. 





'MONGST the many trials which took place on the Cir- 
cuit, we have not found, previous to the comparatively 
modern date of 1817, even one of those cases which 
now crop up so frequently — actions for breach of pro- 
mise of marriage. In that year, such an action was 
brought, not indeed by the lady against the fickle swain, 
but by the lover against his fair deceiver. At the Lent 
Assizes for the County of Gal way, this case was tried; and, as we 
are informed by the local papers of the day, so great was the in- 
terest taken in the proceedings, that every lodging-house, even the 
humblest in the town, was filled to overflowing. " Lodging-house 
keepers," writes the correspondent of the " Freeman's Journal," 
'' are making now a rich harvest — beds a pound a night — but then 
it is not so expensive when you get others to join you. Three of 
us slept in one bed last night in a double-bedded room, and four in 
the other bed. It w^as like the black hole of Calcutta." We can 
well believe it, and we will — all — readers and writers— join in the 
ejaculation of Melibseus, ''Non equidem invideo." Long before 
the appointed time, respectably dressed crowds anxiously awaited 
the opening of the Court ; and when at length the doors were flung 
open, a rush was made, and instantly every available seat was 
filled. The position of the parties, the presence of Mr. O'Connell 
(who appeared as special counsel for the defendant), of Mr. Phillips, 
and of many leading members of the Irish bar, deepened the inte- 
rest taken in the proceedings. 

The plaintift'. Lieutenant Blake, was a member of an old and 
respectable Galway family. He entered the Pioyal Navy before he 
had completed his eighteenth year, had served for ten years on 
board the Hydra line of-battle ship, and had been in many en- 
gagements at sea; but the engagement in which he was now 


involved on land was one in which fame was not to be achieved ; 
one in which the auri sacra fames, the accursed thirst for gold, 
was the onl}^ moving power ; one in which the fair object of his 
admiration was, indeed, a vain old woman of sixty-five, but pos- 
sessed of a fee-simple estate — such were her real charms ! — of 
eight hundred pounds a-year. She was known in Galway as the 
Widow Wilkins, and the case of Blake v. Wilkins is still spoken 
of as the Widow Wilkins's case. Her husband had been a staif- 
surgeon at the siege of Quebec, and anyone who takes the trouble 
of reading an account of that memorable siege will read that 
General Wolfe fell into the arms of an officer, who was one of his 
staff close by. That officer was Dr. Wilkins. He was young and 
handsome, and after some time was married to the subject of our 
memoir, a Miss Brown, a lady then young, and possessed of great 
talents, remarkable beauty, and winning manners. Keturning to 
Europe in 1775, Dr. Wilkins and his wife were presented at the 
Court of George III., and it is related that even that monarch was 
so fascinated by her charms that he spent an hour in animated 
conversation with her at St. James's. The happiness, however, of 
her and her husband (for they were happy) was soon to end. He 
caught the fever which raged in 1775 in London, and on the 
Christmas night of that year Mrs. Wilkins knelt by his death- 
bed. He had been possessed of an ample fortune, and had 
devised a portion of it, amounting to £800 a-year, to his widow. 
Heart-broken at her loss, she turned to reflect on the divine maxim, 
that "favour is deceitful and beauty is vain." Had she been a 
Catholic, possibly she would have retired to a convent. For forty 
years Mrs. Wilkins lived in seclusion on her estates near Galway. 
But the year 1815 brought a change. The battle of Waterloo ter- 
minated the long struggle between the powers of Europe ; a general 
peace made unnecessary the great armaments which the empire 
had previously maintained by land and sea; and the discharged 
officers of the army and navy returned to idleness, and many of 
them in poverty, to their homes. Lieutenant Blake had been 
twice round the world in the Hydra man-of-war ; but the Hydra 
was now in dock, her crew had been discharged, and so it behoved 
him to look about for any favourable chance — "any port in a 
Btorm." His mother and sister resided, in straitened circum- 



stances, in the immediate neighbourhood of the town of Gal way, 
and close to Brownville, where Mrs. Wilkins was spending the 
closing years of her life. One would say that beads and prayer- 
books ought then to have been uppermost in her mind ; and that 
when the thought of wedded happiness came back upon her, it 
should have been with the sigh of memory rather than with the 
smile of hope. 

But we are told by the poets that the mind of woman is inscrut- 
able. The Sphinx of mythology was a female ; and though w^e 
should be sorry to adopt as our own the sentiment of the Roman, 
** Mulieri ne credas," yet we certainly are not an QEdipus to read 
the enigma ! One thing is certain, that the ladies of Mr. Blake's 
family were attentive to Mrs. Wilkins, and that when they heard 
her speak of former times — tertiam cetatem hominum vivehat — when 
they heard her speak of the happiness she had enjoyed with her 
husband — they hinted that all was not yet lost, and that perhaps 
in the future she might partake of a felicity greater than she had 
ever known. 

By degrees the idea of marriage was once more forced on her 
mind, and the old lady permitted herself to be entrapped, by the 
most revolting flattery, into a promise of marriage. But no sooner 
had she accepted the plaintiff's suit than she was besieged on all 
sides by his friends ; a watch was set upon her movements, and she 
eventually fell completely into the grasp of these designing people, 
and was shut out from all intercourse with her family. At last, in 
a moment of wisdom, she resolved — and she acted on her resolu- 
tion — to break off this fatal connection, and (hinc illce lacrymce) 
hence sprang the celebrated case of Blake v. Wilkins. 

The presiding judge was Baron Smith, and as it was one of his 
peculiarities to come down late to Court, the crowded assembly were 
compelled to remain in expectation from early morning until his 
lordship had had his lunch at two o'clock. 

Messrs. Vandeleur, k.c. Lynch, Jonathan Henn, and Cramp- 
ton appeared for the plaintiff; while Mr. O'Connell (special), Mr. 
Charles Phillips, and Mr. Everard were counsel for the defendant. 
A special jury having been sworn, the case was opened by Mr. 
Crampton, who, in the dry and, to the many, unintelligible lan- 
guage of pleading, went through the counts, all varying the cause 


of action, but all agreeing in a marvellous and intelligible manner 
to claim the sum of ^5,000 for damage done to the feelings of the 
gallant sailor. 

Mr. Vandeleur then stated the plaintiff's case, after which 
evidence was given in support thereof. Mr. O'Connell was expected 
to state the case for the defendant, but was unable to do so, owing 
to a painful hoarseness, and he, therefore, requested Mr. Phillips 
to take his place. 

If ever counsel succeeded in laughing a case out of Court, Mr. 
Phillips did so in this instance ; but, departing from all precedent, 
his shafts of ridicule were aimed at his own client. *' How vain- 
glorious," he said, " is the boast of beauty ! How misapprehended 
have been the charms of youth, if j^ears and wrinkles can thus 
despoil their conquests, and depopulate the navy of its prowess, and 
beguile the bar of its eloquence ! How mistaken were all the 
amatory poets, from Anacreon downwards, who preferred the 
bloom of the rose and the thrill of the nightingale to the saffron 
hide and dulcet treble of sixty-five ! " (Here his client rose and 
left the Court.) " The reign of old women has commenced, and if 
Johanna Southcote converts England to her creed, why should not 
Ireland, less pious, perhaps, kneel before the shrine of the irre- 
sistible Widow Wilkins ? " 

Eeferring to the plaintiff, he said : *' For the gratification of 
his avarice he was contented to embrace age, disease, infirmity, 
and widowhood, to bend his youthful passions to the carcase for 
which the grave was opening — to feed, by anticipation, on the 
uncold corpse, and cheat the worm of its reversionary corruption. 
Educated in a profession proverbially generous, he offered to barter 
every joy for money ! Born in a country ardent to a fault, he 
advertised his happiness to the highest bidder ! and he now solicits 
an honourable jury to become the panders to this heartless cupidity ! 
Harassed and conspired against, my client entered into the con- 
tract you have heard — a contract conceived in meanness, extorted 
by fraud, and sought to be enforced by the most profligate con- 
spiracy ! Trace it through every stage of its progress, in its origin, 
its means, its effects — from the parent contriving it through the 
sacrifice of her son, and forwarding it through the instrumentality 
of her daughter, down to the son himself unblushingly acceding to 


the atrocious combination by which age was to be betrayed and] 
youth degraded, and the odious union of decrepitude and precocious^ 
avarice blasphemously consecrated by the solemnities of religion ! 
Gentlemen of the jury, remember I ask you for no mitigation of 
damages. Nothing less than your verdict will satisfy me. By that 
verdict you will sustain the dignity of your sex — by that verdict 
you will uphold the honour of the national character. By that 
verdict you will assure not only the immense multitude of both 
sexes that thus so unusually crowd around you, but the whole 
rising generation of your country, that marriage can never be 
attended with honour, or blessed with happiness, if it has not its 
origin in mutual affection ! I surrender with confidence my case 
to your decision." 

Mr. Phillips having resumed his seat, the jury found for the 
defendant. The Court then rose, and Mr. Phillips, exhausted, and 
exulting at having overthrown his adversary, left the Court; but 
hardly had he emerged into the street when Mrs. Wilkins rushed 
at him, and struck him violently with a horse-whip on the face 
and shoulders. He then ran away as best he could, and was soon 
safe in the bar room.^ 

Mr. Phillips delivered other and not less remarkable speeches 
on the Circuit. In Galway he was counsel in an action for libel, 
brought by the Kev. Cornelius O'Mullan, a Catholic clergyman, 
against McCorkill, the editor of the '* Derry Journalist ; " and in 
Roscommon he was counsel for the plaintiff in an action for 
seduction — the case of Connaughton v. Dillon, 

Mr. Phillips did not remain at the Irish bar sufficiently long to 
be amongst those who were in the race for promotion. At the 
English bar he maintained his character for imaginative declama- 
tion. Rather too ornate, the imagery of his fancy threw a charm 
over every case, however dull, in which he was engaged. His fame 
was, however, clouded in later years ; for, when acting as counsel 
for the foreign valet, Courvoisur, who had murdered his master. 
Lord William Russell, he earned the condemnation of the profes- 
sion by unnecessarily pledging his own belief in the innocence 
of his client, who was on his trial for wilful murder, at a time 

* " Freeman's Journal." 


when he (Mr. Phillips) had ascertained, in a private interview, an 
admission of that felon's guilt. The learned gentleman was after- 
wards appointed a commissioner of insolvents in London, which 
lucrative post he held till his death. 

A.i). 1819. — Jonathan Henn, who in 1817 had been Secre- 
tary of the Connaught Bar, gave notice in the early part of that 
year of his intention to quit their ranks, as he was about to 
join the Minister Circuit. He had been six years on the Con- 
naught, and neither he, nor the suitors, nor the attorneys, nor 
the judges knew that there was a spark of the fire of genius in 
the young man. Never during that long period did he receive 
a fee, nor never expected to receive one. An attorney, who 
was under obligations to his brother William on the Munster 
Circuit, went one morning to his lodgings in Galway, on the 
first day of the Summer Assizes in 1818, brief in hand. He 
was shown into Henn's sitting-room, adjoining his bed-room : 
fast asleep lay the counsellor; the servant awoke him, saying: 
" There was an attorney, a Mr. Kelly, in the next room, wanted to 
give his honour a brief." Thinking it a practical joke played by 
some of his brethren of the circuit, he shouted, " Tell Kelly, the 
attorney, to go to the devil, and to take his brief and his fee with 
him." Kelly, a pompous fellow, sent him a hostile message before 
ten minutes, and before noon Jonathan Henn had to apologise, 
and to see at the same time his first and his last chance on the 
Connaught Circuit vanish. It is said that at that Assizes he was 
called upon to fill the Vice-President's chair on the occasion of the 
judges dining with the bar, and it became his duty to propose their 
healths, as also that of the registrars and Mr. O'Connell, who had 
" come down special ; " and now for the first time did it appear 
that a rich mine of talent lay concealed in the briefless and indo- 
lent barrister who had so long travelled the circuit. The announce- 
ment he made at the next bar meeting, that he was about to leave 
the Connaught Bar Society, was received with pain by those around, 
who felt that when the opportunity should come, he was the man 
that must reflect credit upon the circuit to which he belonged. 
*' The bar" then — we use the words of the resolution — ** feeling 
and reflecting on the loss they were about to sustain, and being 
desirous to express the esteem they entertained for him, authorised 


and directed the secretary to invite Mr. Henn to their term dinner.'* 
He accepted the invitation, and his name appears in the Bar Book 
as a guest on that evening of his quondam brethren. On another 
circuit his latent talent became patent, soaring sometimes in his 
oratorical flights to heights rarely attained to by the most polished 
orators at the bar. He was associated with Thomas (afterwards 
Lord) O'Hagan, q.c, Richard Lalor Shell, q.c, Gerald FitzGibbon, 
Q.C, and Francis MacDonough, q.c, in the defence of Daniel 
O'Connell in 18^3. The only judicial post that this accomplished 
lawyer filled in life was that of Chairman of the County of Donegal 
He died unmarried. 

On the same day that Jonathan Henn was admitted a member 
of the Connaught Bar Society, John Henry North was also admitted ; 
and few men ever joined the Circuit with more brilliant antece- 
dents than he. In Trinity College he outstripped every competitor 
both in classics and science, whilst of the Historical Society he was 
the brightest ornament. It was an established custom that each of 
its periodical sessions should be closed by a parting address from 
the chair, reviewing and commending the objects of the institution. 
The task, as a mark of honour, was assigned to Mr. North. It was 
the last of his academic efi'orts, and was pronounced to be a master- 
piece ; and the author was urged to extend the circle of his admirers 
by consenting to its publication, but his modesty prevented him 
from acceding to this proposal. Immediately after his " call" he 
cbose the Connaught as his Circuit. " His progress, however 
flattering it might be to a person of ordinary pretensions, did not 
realize the auspicious anticipations under which his coming was 
announced." When speaking of this accomplished young man, 
writers ask, **How has this come to pass, that such a genius in 
college was such a failure in after life ? " The reply is, that " his 
mind wanted boldness and determination of character. Conscious 
that the elements of greatness were within him, one of its most 
necessary attributes he was still without — a sentiment of masculine 
self-reliance, and along with it a calm and settled disdain for the 
approbation of little friends, and the censure of little enemies, and 
the murmurs of the tea-table. Hence it is that he never redeemed 
the pledges of his youth." ^ In political life Mr. North was an 

» ** Curran's Sketches/' Vol. i., p. 2ia 


JOHN H. NORTH, B.L. 206 

advanced Liberal and supporter of Catholic Emancipation; and yet 
the most conspicuous occasion upon which he appeared as counsel 
was at the trial, in the Court of Queen's Bench, of the political 
rioters at the Dublin theatre, commonly called *' The Bottle Riot 
Case.'* Here John Henry North, the foe of the Orangemen, was 
engaged as their counsel to defend them. The circumstances of the 
case were these. In 1821 the Marquis of Wellesley was appointed 
Lord Lieutenant of L*eland ; his wife was a Catholic ; his counsel, 
who had accompanied him from England, Mr. Anthony Richard 
Blake, was also a Catholic ; and Catholics, still inadmissible to 
the Bench, were yet given to understand that the days of religious 
ascendancy were numbered. " The glorious, pious, and immortal 
memory " had not been, as it formerly had been, given at the 
Castle on the 12th of July. In a few nights afterwards the 
Lord Lieutenant attended the theatre in state, such State visits 
being known to theatrical people by the name of " Command 
Nights." On this occasion an organized party of Orangemen, 
numbering nearly a hundred, packed the pit and upper gallery 
of the theatre, and having caused much interruption and dis- 
turbance throughout a portion of the performance, and having 
used the most offensive language, such as " Down with the 
Papist Government,'^ "A groan for the Popish Lord Lieutenant," 
one of their number hurled, it was said, a whiskey bottle at 
the Viceregal box, and narrowly missed its object. Hence this 
scandalous affair is remembered in the books as '' The Bottle 
Riot Case." The Attorney- General prosecuted, and the prisoners 
were defended by Mr. North. It would be difficult to conceive 
a more perplexing office. He, the long-tried friend of the 
Catholic cause, now the professional confidant of the Orange 
Lodges, and chosen defender of their acts and doctrines. His 
duty he discharged with great talent, and with (what was not 
expected)^ consummate boldness. Mr. North went into Parlia- 
ment in 1827 as M.P. for Milbourne Port; in 1830 he was 
returned for Drogheda ; and in the same year he ceased to be a 
member of the Connaught Circuit, having, on the death of Sir 
Jonah Barrington, been offered the Judgeship of the Court of 

* " Curran's Sketches of the Irish Bar," Vol. i., p. 231. 

206 JOHN D' ALTON, M.R.I.A. 

Admiralty, an office lie accepted and enjoyed for one year. In 1831 
he died. His wife was sister to the Right Honourable John Leslie 
Foster, one of the Barons of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland. 
He is said to have been in large practice, was most fascinating in 
manners, and greatly regretted on the Circuit. 

Mr. John D'Alton was a remarkable man on this Circuit, which 
he joined in 1815, and was the intimate friend of Mr. North. 
About the year 1824 he was in extensive practice as a conveyancer, 
and was engaged in most cases on title. Few men have done so 
much as he did to throw light on the history of his country. With 
pride the Connaught Bar Society can number amongst its asso- 
ciates the writer of so many works of the deepest interest. The 
representative of one of the most ancient families in the County of 
Westmeath, being the direct descendant of Sir Walter D'Alton, 
who, as recorded in the Office of Arms, secretly married Jane, a 
daughter of Louis, King of France, and having thereby incurred 
that monarch's displeasure, fled to England, whence he passed to 
Ireland with Henry II., on the invasion of that country, John 
D'Alton was son of William D'Alton, Esq., of Bessville, County 
of Westmeath, and of his wife Elizabeth Leynes. He was born in 
the year 1792, and having been educated by the Rev. Joseph 
Hutton, he entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated in 
due course. Selecting the law as his profession, in 1811 he en- 
tered the Middle Temple, London, was called to the Irish bar in 
1813, and immediately joined the Connaught Circuit. 

Mr. D'Alton's first published work was a metrical romance, en- 
titled, *' Dermid ; or, Erin in the days of Boroihme," which ap- 
peared in the year 1814, and was highly spoken of by Sir Walter 
Scott. His attention as an author was subsequently directed to 
Irish historical literature, and in 1818 he successfully competed for 
the Conyngham gold medal, offered by the Royal Irish Academy 
for the best essay on " The Ancient History, Religion, and Arts 
of Ireland from the time of the Introduction of Christianity to the 
English Invasion," which was published in the " Transactions of 
the Academy." In 1833 Messrs. Caldwell, of Dublin, commenced 
the publication of " The Irish Penny Magazine," edited by Mr. 
Samuel Lover, who was supported by a force of competent writers, 
foremost of whom was Mr. D'Alton, his contributions being chiefly 


" Illustrations of Irish Topography." He was also a contributor 
for many years to the pages of " The Dublin University Magazine/' 
" The Gentleman's Magazine/' and to several of the leading perio- 
dicals of the day. In 1838 he was elected a corresponding member 
of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and in the same year he 
pubHshed the " Memoirs of the Archbishops of DubHn/' a valuable 
repertory, and also his " History of the County of DubHn/' for 
which he had been for many years collecting materials. In 1844 
he pubHshed a '' History of Drogheda and its Environs." His 
"Annals of Boyle" appeared in 1845. This work gives the his- 
tory of the country from the earliest period to the year 1245, when 
the annals terminate ; it contains notices of many old Irish fami- 
lies, which render the work of great value to the antiquary and to 
the genealogist. 

Mr. D'Alton produced in 1855 his '^Illustrations, Historical 
and Genealogical, of King James's Army List, 1689," a work of 
great research and merit, and which soon ran through a second 
edition. His last work was the *' History of Dundalk," published 
in 1864. Besides all these he has left nearly 200 volumes of manu- 
scripts, which we hope one day to see published. Gifted beyond 
other men with every quality that could endear him to his profes- 
sional brethren, he lived long after he had retired from the Circuit. 
For several years before his death he was a constant reader at the 
King's Inns Library ; and even then, when the weight of old age 
was upon him, he would endeavour to climb the high ladders of the 
library for a book rather than disturb the junior barristers near 
him, though need it be told, that what he considered as the inflic- 
tion of a trouble would have been looked upon as a pleasure by 
them ? Often has the writer of these pages helped to procure for 
him those books from which the good old man extracted such a 
store of archaeological erudition. Surrounded by a worthy and 
loving family, John D'Alton died on the 20th May, 1868, leaving 
after him a name of stainless honour, much worth, and great learn- 
ing. His hearse was followed to the Glasnevin Cemetery by many 
members of the Royal Irish Academy, of which he was a distin- 
guished member, by the judges, and by the leaders, Protestant as 
well as Catholic, of the Circuit to which he had formerly belonged. 
At the first meeting, after his decease, of the Royal Irish xlcademy, 


Lord Talbot de Malahide pronounced a graceful tribute to his 
literary and social character. 

1822. — At the Galway Summer Assizes in this year occurs one 
of the last, perhaps the last, of the cases in which a Roman Catholic 
priest was prosecuted under the then antiquated Popery Acts, and 
the strangest part of the case was that the counsel for the Crown 
was not ashamed to ridicule the cause he was advocating. It 
appears that the Eev. John O'Connor, Parish Priest of Kilconnell 
and Aughrim, stood indicted that '' he, on the 17th of February 
last, did in Kilconnell celebrate marriage between Thomas Curley, 
a reputed Papist, and Mary Parry, who had professed herself to 
be a Protestant, within the space of twelve months previous to the 
date of her marriage, contrary to the peace of our Lord the King, 
his Crown and dignity." 

Mr. Daniel, k.c, stated the case for the prosecution. The 
accused was a clergyman of position in the Ptoman Church, 
respected by all who knew him ; and the crime he stood indicted 
for was a violation of that law which makes it criminal for a 
Roman Catholic priest to perform tho ceremony of marriage between 
a couple, either of whom had within twelve months been a professed 
Protestant. The reverend defendant, counsel said, might have not 
intentionally violated that law, but the Hon. and Most Reverend 
Doctor Trench,, and the Rev. Mr. Martin, Rector of the Parish, 
who had originated this prosecution, thought otherwise. The jury 
must be aware that the 32 and 33 George TIL, chapter 21, ss. 12 
and 13, restricts ** Romish priests from performing the service of 
marriage between Protestants, or between those who had been 
Protestants within twelve months previously, and Papists, unless 
first performed by the Protestant clergyman." The young lady 
admittedly had been a Protestant in this case, in which she was an 
unwilling witness. She had become a Catholic and married, and 
she will now be examined as to the state of facts, as also will be 
the Rev. Mr. Martin, whose church she was wont to attend. He 
(the learned counsel) would put his witnesses on the table, and he 
ventured to hope that it would be the last time in his life that he 
would be employed in such a prosecution. The above facts having 
been proved, the scienter — the knowledge of the priest as to whether 
he knew the lady had been a Protestant within the twelve months — 
became the object of serious inquiry. 


Counsel for the reverend traverser were Messrs. North, k.c, 
Blakeney, Fallon, and Donelan, and Mr. Everard, though not re- 
tained, lent his assistance. 

Mr. Justice Burton charged for an acquittal. 

The jury accordingly acquitted the traverser, Mr. Daniel, k.c, 
expressing his disgust at holding such a hrief.^. 

How changed the spirit of the times ! Had the case occurred in 
the last century, counsel, judge, and jury would have all lent a 
willing hand to punish the audacity of a Papist priest acting as he 
had done, under similar circumstances. 

In this year Thomas Burton Vandeleur, Sergeant-at-Law, 
father of the Conn aught bar, having been appointed Judge of 
the Court of King's Bench, retired from the Circuit, upon which 
he had long held a leading position. 

Amongst the members of the other branch of the legal pro- 
fession in those times was James Hardiman, who has also left his 
name on the page of history. His business w^as entirely confined 
to the Connaught Circuit. His ^'History of Galway," his " His- 
tory of lar- Connaught,'' and his *' Irish Minstrelsy,'' are well 

Another barrister on the Circuit at this period — we speak of 
1826 — was Mr. Martin ffrench Lynch, whom we have already 
noticed. His name, as we have seen, is associated with the great 
lawyers of the day in many cases of interest. He was a native of 
the town of Galway, and joined the Connaught Circuit immediately 
after his call to the bar. 

The Lynches of Galway are descended from a German family, 
whose cradle was the city of Lintz, in Austria. They came to 
England soon after the Conquest, and settled in Bristol, whence 
they removed to Galway, and became one of the foremost amongst 
the tribes who had conferred upon them, by Pope Innocent VIIL, 
the privilege of electing their own prelate or warden. Mr. Lynch 
was younger son of Mr. Lynch of Kenmore, whose family has since 
divided into two branches, now represented, the elder by John 
Wilson Lynch, Esq., d.l., j.p., of Kenmore, and the other by 
Marcus Lj-nch Staunton, Esq., of Clydagh. Being a man of great 

' " Freeman's Journal," Aug. 19, 1822. 



ability, and besides being widely connected with the leading families 
of his native county, the subject of our memoir became advising 
counsel to most of tbem. It is not unworthy of observation, that a 
poem on his death is to be found in the pages of the Book of the 
Connaught Bar — the only poem in the Bar Book."" 

The remainder of our chapter is a notice of murders and of 
their detection. The case we shall first select is remarkable for the 
singular plan struck out by the murderer to escape suspicion. His 
name was M'G-uinness. He was a peculiarly powerful-looking man, 
standing upwards of six feet, strongly proportioned, and of great 
muscular strength. His countenance, however, was by no means 
good ; his face being colourless^ his brow heavy, and the whole cast 
of it stern and forbidding. He was a farmer, residing at a village 
nearly in a line between the little town of Claremorris, and the 
smaller but more ancient one of Ballj'haunis, near the borders of 
the County of Mayo. With him lived his mother and wife, a 
young woman to whom he had not been long married at the time 
of which we speak, and with whom he had never any altercation 
such as to attract the observation or interference of the neighbours. 

It was on a market evening of Claremorris, in the year 1820 
(M'Guinness had gone to the market), when his mother, a withered 
hag, bent with age, hobbled with great apparent terror into the 
cabin nearest to her own, and alarmed the occupants by stating 
that she had heard a noise in an inner room, and that she feared 
her daughter-in-law was doing some harm to herself. Two or 
three of the neighbours returned speedily with her, and entering 
the chamber saw the lifeless body of the unfortunate young woman 
lying on the ground. There was no blood nor mark of violence on 
any part of the body except on the face and throat, round which a 
neck-handkerchief was sufi'ocatingly tied. She had evidently been 
strangled, and both face and neck were blackened and swollen. 

Who, then, had perpetrated the deed ? was the question 
whispered by all the neighbours as they came and went. M'Guin- 
ness, according to his mother's account, had not yet returned from 
the market : the old woman would not have had strength to 

^ "Lines on the Interment of Martin ifrench Lynch, an old and valued 

Member of the Connaught Bar." A.D. 1826. 



accomplish the murder, even if bloody-minded enough to attempt 
it ; and it was an impossibility that the 3'oung woman herself could 
have committed self-destruction in such a manner. 

While the callous old woman was thus so skilfully supporting 
her part in the murderous drama, the chief performer, who had not 
as yet been seen to have returned from the market since the com- 
mission of the horrid deed, crossed a neighbouring river, and on 
the opposite side chanced to meet a country tailor, who was pro- 
ceeding from one village to another to exercise his craft. And here 
the murderer, as murderers generally do, lost his judgment; for a 
plan suggested itself to him on the spur of the moment, on which 
he acted, and which was afterwards to recoil with destruction on 
his head. He forced the tailor to take on his knees the most fear- 
ful oaths that he would never divulge what should then be revealed 
to him, and that he would act in strict conformity with the direc- 
tions he should receive, threatening, at the same time, if he should 
refuse compliance, to beat out his brains, and fling him into the 

The affrighted tailor having taken the required oaths, M'Guin- 
ness confessed to him the murder of his wife, using at the same 
time horrible imprecations, that if ever a word on the subject 
escaped the tailor's lips, he would, dead or alive, take deadly 
vengeance upon him. He then proceeded to cut and dinge his hat 
in several places, and inflicted various scratches on his head and 
face, directing the tailor to assert that he had found him attacked 
by four men on the road on his return from Claremorris ; and, to 
give more appearance of probability to the tale, he obliged his in- 
voluntary accessory after the fact to bear him on his back to a cabin 
at some distance, as if the murderer were too weak to proceed 
thither himself after the violent assault committed upon him. 

On reaching the cabin with this troublesome man on his 
shoulders, the tailor told the story as directed ; while M' Guinness 
himself, showing his scratches, and detailing in a weak voice the 
assault on him by men whom he did not know, affected such faint- 
ness as to fall from the chair on which he had been placed. A 
farrier was then procured at his request, and to such lengths did he 
proceed with the plan he had struck out, that he got himself 
blooded, though the farrier shrewdly observed at the same time 



(according to the evidence given by him subsequently) that there 
seemed to be no weakness whatever about him, except in his voice, 
and that his pulse was strong and regular. 

Overcome with terror, the tailor on the following day dis- 
appeared from this part of the country, and did not return (though 
M'Guinness and his mother were at once committed on suspicion) 
till the approach of the ensuing assizes, when he came forward, 
probably as much induced by the large reward for the murderer's 
conviction as by the desire of disburdening himself of the fearful 
secret that weighed upon him. 

There was much interest excited at the Spring Assizes of 1820 
by the trial of the two accused ; they were arraigned together before 
Sergeant (afterwards Mr. Justice) Yandeleur ; Mr. George French, 
Mr. Crampton, and Mr. Kelly appearing for the Crown, while 
Mr. Guthrie and Mr. Daniel defended the prisoners. 

Mr. French said that he never in his experience came across so 
extraordinary a murder as this. It reminded him of the stories in 
the "Arabian Nights," both the murder and the detection. He 
then stated the case, and called the tailor, whose evidence was to 
the effect already mentioned. 

His testimony, bearing strongly the impress of truth, singular 
though it was, was strengthened by that of the brother of the de- 
ceased, who seemed greatly affected while deposing that he had met 
M'Guinness in Claremorris on the day of the murder, and that the 
handkerchief afterwards found round his sister's neck had been 
worn by the murderer on that occasion. 

There was not an iota of evidence for the prisoners, and accord- 
ingly a verdict against the male prisoner was handed in, though 
his vile mother was acquitted for want of evidence, much to the 
regret of a crowded court. 

Sergeant Vandeleur then passed sentence, condemning the 
prisoner to death ; but that sentence was never carried into execu- 
tion, for on the day following the conviction he was found hanged 
in his cell by the same handkerchief with which he had murdered 
his unfortunate wife. How that handkerchief got back into his 
possession no man could tell. 

About the year 1823 there lived in the town of Galway a vic- 
tualler named Hughes ; he was not a Galway man by birth, nor 


originally a victualler by trade, but having settled there some yearj 
previously, he entered into the business, and soon realized a mode- 
rate fortune. At the time of which we are now speaking there were 
few gentlemen in the county with whom his word would not be 
sufficient for £100 worth of cattle, and this man, who was the envy 
of his brother victuallers, bore strongly the apparent marks of 
prosperity, and a contented mind shone forth in his florid, good- 
humoured, open countenance. 

He was, we are told, a model for others in all the relations of 
life : a good father, a kind friend, and a strict observer of his reli- 
gious duties. When, however, he indulged too freely in drink, as 
he sometimes used to do, he was wont to give way to a jesting turn 
of mind, which was, sometimes at least, not pleasant to his neigh- 
bours. Now it did so happen that he had regaled himself one day — 
it was in the summer of 1823— and by-and-by this propensity 
became observable. While in the height of his humour, scattering 
his witticisms broadcast, there entered his shop a pedlar, upon 
whom Hughes directed his battery. 

" You look, Mr. pedlar, as if a good beefsteak would not do you 
much harm this morning." 

" Begorra, you may say that," said the pedlar. 

*' Well, my friend," rejoined the butcher, " I should not like to 
trust you -with, the price of a beefsteak." 

"Ah, then, maybe you'd be right in that same,'' rejoined the 
stranger, fixing his eye upon him like one striving to recall a half- 
forgotten dream. ** Though, Mr. Hughes, it is not everyone that 
is to be taken by his looks." 

" It is in hemp you ought to be dealing, my friend ; take care 
did you mistake your trade." 

" Faix, then, if every man got his due," said the pedlar, " more 
than me would be dailin' in hemp. But you needn't be so hard on 
me all out, Misther M*Cann." 

On hearing this name — it was his true one — which he had not 
heard for years, the victualler started, while a blaze which deepened 
the hue of his cheek flitted across his brow, and the next moment 
subsided into monumental paleness. He recovered himself, how- 
ever, immediately, and remarking, laughingly, how curiously people 
were at times mistaken for others, took an opportunity of following 


the pedlar, wlio had advanced into the shambles hard by, and in- 
vited him to breakfast the next morning. 

Punctual to the hour the pedlar made his appearance at 
Hughes's stall, situated in one of those archways which are a 
characteristic of this Spanish-built city, and which strike the 
stranger so much as he wanders through it for the first time. The 
breakfast was excellent and ample, and the pedlar was received with 
great apparent cordiality and welcome, and was pressed immoder- 
ately to consider himself at home, and to partake plentifully of the 
fare before him. He did ample justice to the meal, although he 
discovered his entertainer several times scanning him with an ex- 
pression of countenance that he by no means liked. The breakfast 
over, Hughes invited his guest to take a walk, stating that he would 
show him part of the city ; and accordingly they sallied forth from 
the archway, which was off Shop Street, and immediately contiguous 
to the fine old collegiate Church of St. Nicholas, and within a pistol 
shot of the house, over the door of which is inserted the slab con- 
taining the far-famed death's head and cross-bones. Thence he led 
his guest to an eminence on the south-east side of the city, called 
Fort Hill, which terminates in a precipice, lashed by the waves 
when the tide is in, whilst, scattered over its surface, are several 
deep wells. 

The victualler made no allusion whatever, during breakfast, to 
the fact that the pedlar had called him M'Cann on the previous day, 
nor to the county from which they both came. As they went along, 
however, he made some inquiries, as if to sound his companion. But 
the latter had become wary. In fact, as they left the crowded parts 
of the town behind, fear began to grow upon him as he found him- 
self alone with Hughes, even in daylight and adjoining a bustling 

This fear was strengthened by the manner of Hughes, who 
sometimes strode on a few steps, as if labouring under excitement, 
and then, when halted, began to stammer out some observations to 
his companion, while he occasionally flung searching glances around, 
as if to ascertain w^ho might be in view. So, after having twice or 
thrice expressed his wish to return to the city, on reaching the first 
of the wells, the pedlar refused to proceed any farther, and turned 
to retrace his steps at an increased pace, although he did not van- 


ture to run. Calling on him in vain to return, Hughes now darted 
furiously after him with the intention of forcing him back, but he 
was restrained by the sight of some persons, and the pedlar pur- 
sued his way to the city with a step quickened by fear. The 
stranger lost no time in repairing to the house of the mayor, to 
whom he accused Hughes, or M'Cann (which was his real name), 
of having perpetrated a murder in the County of Down ten years 
previously. The charge was so extraordinary, and so utterly at 
variance with the peaceable, prosperous, and even humorous habits 
of the accused, that the mayor, at first, utterly scouted the tale, 
saying that the pedlar must be completely mistaken as to the iden- 
tity of the man. But the accuser was so clear in his statement, 
recollecting M'Cann so well while a journeyman baker (his original 
trade), before the commission of the murder, and was so intimately 
acquainted with everything connected with him, that in a short 
time, after having detailed the morning's proceedings, he satisfied 
the mayor of the well-groundedness of the charge, and the butcher 
was placed under arrest. He was immediately transmitted to Down- 
patrick, and at the next assizes was put on his trial for wilful murder,^ 
before Mr. Justice Moore. Great interest was felt in the proceed- 
ings, and many of his friends came from Gal way to hear the case ; 
for it seemed to them incredible that a man of his spotless reputa- 
tation should be placed in the felon's dock. It appeared also 
marvellous that the Crown could obtain witnesses of the murder 
ten years after its commission. The witnesses, however, were yet 
living who had been examined at the coroner's inquest, and who 
made depositions before the magistrates. 

The first witness produced was a man named John Walker, and 
he remembered having seen the body of one Owen M'Adam floating 
in the canal near the bridge of Coulavey, in the County of Down, 
on the day in question. In his pockets there was a small morsel 
of ginger, but no money. On the clothes of the deceased there 
were marks of blood, and his body presented the appearance of 
much violence ; whilst on the canal-banks were foot-marks, stamped 
deeply into the sand, as if a deadly struggle had taken place there. 

* "Freeman's Journal" and " Saunders' News-Letter" for 5th August, 


Witness had seen the deceased, who was a horse-dealer, on the 
evening before, in company with the prisoner, who was then dressed 
in a grey fustian jacket. 

Fanny McDonnell next deposed that she was the owner of a 
tavern in Newtown Hamilton ; that she remembered the night of the 
murder distinctly, and that the deceased, accompanied by three 
men, one of whom wore a grey fustian jacket, partook of refreshments 
at the bar of her house on that evening ; that she saw deceased take 
a bundle of bank-notes and some ginger out of his pocket while at 
the table, and that he told her he was a horse-dealer. 

The third witness, John Chambers, deposed that he saw deceased 
on the evening of the murder in Mrs. McDonnell's tavern, in com- 
pany with three other men ; that he took out a quantity of notes, 
and also a watch with the picture of four soldiers on the dial. 
Never saw such a watch either before or after. Between five and 
six o'clock deceased left in company with the other men. Had a 
grey horse, with a switch tail, by the bridle. 

The fourth witness, James Chambers, heard the prisoner, to 
whose identity he now swore, tell the deceased that he would 
accompany him from Newtown Hamilton to Lisburn. Deceased 
was leading a white-coloured horse. 

The fifth witness was James Kooney, who lived near Lisburn ; 
remembered the deceased coming to his house on the night of the 
alleged murder, accompanied by M'Cann. It was then eleven 
o'clock at night, and he appeared to have been under the influence 
of drink. M'Cann made him take two glasses more. They had a 
grey pony with them. 

The sixth witness was a person named Adam Sloane. He was 
a baker, and remembered that he had M'Cann in his employment 
at a salary of six shillings a-week ; he left his (witness's) employ- 
ment on the Thursday before the murder. The cause of his leaving 
was that there were races in the neighbourhood, and, as permission 
had been refused him to attend those races, he threw up his place 
and went there. M'Cann was then about twenty years of age, and 
very slender ; he was now very corpulent. 

James Vance, the seventh witness, lived at Tandragee ; remem- 
bered the 26th of July, 1813. On that day a young man about 
twenty- one years of age called at his house ; he had with him a dark 


grey colt with a switch tail ; he asked witness for grass for a month 
for him ; he left the horse there and never returned for it. Could 
not swear positively it was the prisoner, but believed it was. The 
young man offered to sell witness a watch with the picture of four 
soldiers on the dial. 

The eighth witness was the pedlar. He deposed that he had 
been first a baker, next a basket-maker, and now a pedlar by trade ; 
that he had been on the canal the night of the murder, that he 
passed M'Cann and the deceased as they were going towards Lis- 
burn, the latter being very tipsy and leading a grey horse, with a 
long switch tail, by the rein ; that he knew M'Cann well, inasmuch 
as they were both bakers ; he could distinctly see by the moonlight 
the faces of both. . On the next day he heard of the murder, and 
saw the man whom he had passed a few hours previously taken out 
of the water. He met M'Cann a day or two after, and told him 
that he was suspected of the murder, and to fly for his life. 
M'Cann, denying all knowledge of the affair, took from his waist- 
coat pocket a watch with a dial, on which there was a painting of 

On cross-examination the witness admitted that he had not 
made at the time any depositions, nor given any evidence at the 
coroner's inquest, the reason he assigned being that he was appre- 
hensive lest he should be himself accused of the murder. He had 
followed the basket-making business until lately, and carried in his 
pack a number of fancy baskets. For the last five years he had 
travelled over the North of Ireland, supporting himself, and at the 
same time seeing the country, and stopping at his customers' 
houses wherever he went. By some accident he visited Sligo early 
in the summer of the year 1823. He had disposed of all his things, 
and purchased in that town a new stock of goods, which he put on 
his back, and he turned towards Newtown Hamilton. As he was 
leaving Sligo for his northern home, he was attracted by the sound 
of martial music. It was a regiment that was leaving Sligo for 
Castlebar, and it occurred to deponent that he could not do better 
than accompany the soldiers, that he would have music and com- 
pany on his way, .and perhaps dispose of his trinkets to the men at 
the end of their journey. His success was more complete than he 
had expected, and, accordingly, in Castlebar he replenished his pack, 



and proceeded on his journey, without well knowing which road he] 
had taken, disposing of his goods as he went along ; he found] 
himself in Headford on the next night, and, rising early the fol-' 
lowing morning, proceeded towards Galway ; and it was on the dayj 
after his arrival that he saw M'Cann for the first time after so many I 
years. On heing questioned as to his reason for visiting Galway, 
he replied that from the moment he had left Castlebar until hisj 
arrival in Galway he asked no questions, but he felt led on by som( 
irresistible attraction towards that city. 

Other witnesses were then examined, who positively swore that 
the prisoner was the same man who had been with the deceased 
at the tavern at Newtown Hamilton, and that many of them had 
known him from his infancy. 

The Rev. William Baker was next examined. He was a magis- 
trate of the County of Armagh. Knew a watchmaker, named 
Joyce, in Newtown Hamilton. It appeared from the watchmaker's 
books that the watch, with the picture of soldiers on the dial, was 
left there on the 17th of August, 1813. 

James Hardman Burke, Esq., Maj^or of Galway sworn : Knew 
the prisoner for several years in the town of Galway; his name was 
then Hughes. Witness took him into custody immediately before 
the last Galway Assizes. He had gone to the Meat Market when 
he met Hughes, and told him that he had a very unpleasant duty 
to perform ; that there was a serious charge made against him, and 
that, if it was not cleared up, he must commit him. The prisoner 
said that it was all spite, that he never was in Newtown Hamilton, 
that he had come from the County of Tyrone ; that, if he had even 
been drinking with deceased, nobody could prove that he murdered 
him, and finally he denied that his name had ever been M'Cann. 

John L. Reilly, collector of customs, was examined : Dealt 
with the prisoner as his butcher, saw him in the Galway gaol, after 
his committal, and was astonished at seeing him in gaol. The 
prisoner told him he was charged with murder down the north ; 
witness asked him what part of the north he was from ; he replied, 
Dungannon ; witness then asked him, did he know the Knoxes ? 
He replied he knew Hugh Knox. There was no such person as 
Hugh Knox living near Dungannon. Several witnesses were ex- 


amined to prove that no such person as either Hughes or M'Cann 
had ever lived near Dungannon. 

This closed the case for the prosecution. The defence was then 
gone into, and four witnesses were examined. Joseph Moon swore 
that he knew Bernard M'Cann well, and would not wish to swear 
whether the prisoner was that man or not. Sarah Wilson also 
knew Bernard M'Cann ; was positive that the prisoner at the har 
was not that man. 

The evidence of the two other witnesses was immaterial. The 
jury retired to discuss the evidence^ and before an hour had elapsed^ 
returned with a verdict of *' Guilty," and with a recommendation 
to mercy on the ground of his subsequent good conduct. 

The learned judge then, addressing the prisoner, said, that 
though the evidence was of a circumstantial nature, and brought 
forward after a lapse of many years, yet no doubt remained on his 
mind of the propriety of that verdict ; a more barbarous murder 
could not be imagined or conceived by the mind of man. For the 
sake of filthy lucre he had deprived the poor trader of his life, and 
had drugged him with drugs for days before he had done the fatal 
deed.^ It was marvellous how the hand of God had brought the 
criminal to justice. '* Let no idea of pardon or of mercy cross your 
mind, for the gates of mercy are closed against you in this world. 
On Thursday morning next you must die." The last sentence of 
the law was then formally passed. His death, it would appear, 
was a torturing one, as the rope broke ; and previous to his being 
again conducted to the gallows it was necessary to strengthen him 
with a draught of wine whilst seated on his coffin ; for it was the 
barbarous custom of those times to place before the eyes of the 
condemned the coffin that should be in a few hours his resting- 

The singular detection of M'Cann created, as may be supposed, 
a great sensation in Galway. When men remembered that he had 
been foremost in all charitable undertakings, and had been equally 
liberal to all Christian sects ; when they spoke of his industrious 

' Altliougli the judge is reported to have spoken of the prisoner drugging 
the deceased, no evidence of that fact is given in either of the reports of the 
** Freeman's Journal" or "Saunders' News-Letter." 



and blameless life, and of his apparent want of all compunction 
after the perpetration of the fearful deed, they marvelled much, 
though, indeed, they could find a parallel in the celebrated case of 
Eugene Aram.^ M'Cann's case is still remembered in the City of 
the Tribes, and it is invariably pointed to as an evidence that the 
hand of God will one day work out the detection of the murderer. 
It is satisfactory to know that the wretched man confessed his 
guilt on the gallows, and that this is one amongst the many cases 
which illustrate the truth of the popular belief, that punishment 
must follow upon crime. 

' " Newgate Calendar." 




LTHOUGH intense political excitement prevailed in 
the Province of Connaught, during the years imme- 
diately preceding the Catholic Emancipation of 1829, 
still that excitement left but little mark upon the pages 
of the history of the Connaught bar. Amongst those 
who transgressed the law, few were brought to trial. 
Blood-stained riots indeed took place, connected with the agi- 
tation against the payment of tithe ; but as popular sympathy was 
with the agitator, and as those who in the struggle had broken the 
law were looked upon as martyrs in a good cause, and as such 
received shelter and protection from the peasantry, few were brought 
to justice, and the historian of the Connaught Bar has little to 
record on this subject. The only incident noticed in the news- 
papers of the year 1828, in connection with the Circuit, was the 
purchase of a "new waggon with springs " for the Connaught Bar 
Society. It is strange that the purchase of this waggon is not 
noticed in the Bar Book. This was doubtless owing to an over- 
sight of the secretary, who appears to have been, since 1800, a 
pluralist, inasmuch as he held at the same time the office of " wag- 
goner." The several regulations concerning the waggoner may be 
found contained in the lengthened resolution, moved and carried 
on that subject, by Mr. Crampton in 1813. A sum of a pound 
a-3'ear was paid by each barrister on the Circuit to the waggoner, 
and he was responsible to the bar for the circuit luggage. So long 
as the judges and the bar rode round circuit on horseback, there 
was no necessity for the waggon, as the circuit luggage was then 
carried in their saddle-bags ; but the introduction of carriages 
largely increased the circuit expenses of the bar, and many in con- 
sequence were compelled to walk from town to town, sending their 



luggage on by the waggoD. For be it remembered, that it woulc 
not then be tolerated that a practising barrister should travel the 
Circuit in a stage-coach, or stop at an hotel, in company perhaps 
with attorneys and witnesses ; he might drive in his own gig or 
carriage, or in company with any number of his brothers of the 
bar ; or Mr. Briefless might tramp from town to town, but was 
precluded from availing himself of the public vehicle the stage- 

If the mode of travel during the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries, such as we have long ago described, had its disadvantages, 
still these disadvantages were not without their counterpoise. Tlius 
the members of the bar were usually invited on the journey to the 
houses of the nobility and gentry ; and it is notorious that there 
w^ere then but few of their number unmarried. On the circuit list 
of one hundred years ago, an unmarried barrister was a rara avis. 

The loves of the lawyers were then themes for universal com- 
ment ; and some of those learned lovers have left to us some 
strange conglomerations of love and law. Imagine a lawyer lover 
thus addressing the idol of his idolatry : — 

" Fee simple, and a simi^le fee, 

And all the fees in tail. 
Are nothing when compared with thee, 

Thou best of fees — Fe-male." 


Other verses in the same professional strain have happily es- 
caped destruction. Here are " Loving Lines to Bessy.'' 

*' My head is like a title-deed, 
Or an abstract of the same, 
Wherein, my Bessy, thou mayst read 
Thine own long-cherished name ! 

" Against thee I my suit have brought : 
I am thy plaintiff lover ; 
And for the heart that thou hast caught, 
An action lies in trover. 

" Alas ! upon me, every day. 
The heaviest costs you levy ; 
Oh ! give me back my heart, — but nay, 
I feel I can't replevy. 


" Say, Bessy dearest, if you will 
Accept me as a lover ] 
Must true aflfection file a bill 
The secret to discover ? 

" Is it my income's small amount 

That leads to hesitation ? 

Refer the question of account 

To Cupid's arbitration." * 

In the same Note Book are a multitude of episodes. But 
there is one and one only we shall give, being a poetic opinion in 
which the learned counsel informs widows of intestate husbands 
what their rights are or may be under that distressing state of facts, 
as follows : — 

" By the laws of the land, 
It is settled and planned, 

That intestates' effects shall be spread, 
At the end of the year, 
When the debts are all clear, 

'Mid kindred as here may be read. 

" And first 'tis well known, 
If child there be none, 

Nor issue, of any deceased, 
To the widow will fall 
The one half of all 

The riches her husband possessed. 

" And next for her share, 
If children there are. 

Or child, or descendant, if any, 
She cannot have more. 
What e'er be the store, 

Than one- third of every penny." 

It is worthy of remark that this poetic barrister of the Con- 
naught Circuit was married, and lived happily with his wife for years ; 
she died, and in his diary he says, " She fell asleep in the Lord, 
and is now happy in heaven. I wish I could say as much for my 
second wife ! " 

The romantic lovers on the Connaught Circuit, somehow, 

1 a 

Note Book of a deceased Connaught Barrister in the Eighteenth Century." 


though we are far from hinting selfish motives, seem rarely to have 
fallen in love with portionless girls ; and anyone who turns over 
the pages of the " Komance of the Peerage/' or of the " Landed 
Gentry," will observe how frequently the Connaught Circuit bar- 
risters intermarried with the fair daughters of the great western 
proprietors. The incomes of those young men, though they usually 
obtained considerable fortunes with their wives, were yet, for the 
most part, slender ; but then they seldom plunged into those 
wanton extravagancies which have kept aloof from the hymeneal 
altar men whose incomes ought to have been amply sufficient to 
maintain their families in comfort. 

As in England, during the last century, the junior barristers 
and their wives lived in chambers, so in Ireland the junior barris- 
ters and their wives lived in equally inexpensive establishments. 
The fees marked on the old briefs appear to have been for the most 
part moderate. We have had in our possession briefs for counsel 
in the reign of Charles II., when the fee for a leader of the bar 
was £1 3s. 4d. In earlier times — long before the foundation of 
the Connaught Circuit, so far back as the reign of Edward IV. — 
the usual fee was 4s., and marked thus : " To Counsellor Fylpott, 
for his opinion, 3s. 8d., with 4d. for his dinner." Allowance, how- 
ever, must be made for the difference in value of money in those 
times and at the present day. In the Annals of the Priory of All 
Hallows, now Trinity College, memoranda of retaining fees to 
counsel, equally moderate, may be seen.^ 

The expensive habits of later times are not confined to the 
womankind of a barrister's establishment. He himself has had his 
tastes refined, and the expensive circuit dinners of modern days 
were unknown in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In 
one item, indeed, that of wine, the men of the present are gainers ; 
for it is difficult for one accustomed to the temperate habits of this 
half-century to imagine the excesses of the century which preceded 
it. A prodigious quantity of wine (whiskey being inadmissible) 
was drunk at the circuit dinners, and the lawyers who, on rising 
from table, found themselves compelled to hasten onwards to the 
**next town," not unfrequently spurred across the country in a 

^ Annals of the Priory of All Hallows, p. 14. 


state of perilous intoxication. Nor were these drinking propensi- 
ties confined to the bar. A judge whose habit it had been, when a 
member of the House of Commons, to take part in after-dinner 
sittings, brought with him to the Bench those proclivities which 
he had acquired in the senate. It was his peculiar practice to 
adjourn at six o'clock, and at half-past seven to resume business, 
and frequently he was to be found at midnight charging a jury. His 
argument, when pressed on the propriety of justice after dinner, in- 
variably was, " The laws are made during nightly sittings, and why 
not administer them during nightly sittings ? " An amusing story, 
for the accuracy of which, however, we do not indeed vouch, is told 
of this learned judge. He is stated on St. Patrick's Day to have 
as usual adjourned the Court until eight o^clock in the evening. At 
the appointed time his lordship, with uncertain step, and a remark- 
ably unpleasant hiccup, ascended the Bench ; the bar, with ruddy 
faces, that told of wine, took their seats ; the jury were sworn ; and 
the prisoner, having been given in charge, pleaded not guilty. 

At length the counsel who held the prisoner's brief rose and 
said — " Gentlemen of the jury, it is my painful duty to appear for 
the prosecutor here. 

** Prisoner. — That*s the gentleman who was paid to defend 

" Counsel for the Crown. — Ah, then it's a mistake; you are for 
the defence, I am for the prosecution, ha ! ha ! ha ! 

*^ Judge. — That's a good joke. Ahem! ahem! I mean to say, 
the gravity of justice requires that we should sift, I say sift, every 
case that comes before us. Prisoner at the bar, you have been con- 
victed of having 

" Counsel for the Prisoner. — Your lordship mistakes. The man 
is not tried yet. 

^' Judge. — These interruptions from the bar are very unbecom- 
ing. It is impossible that I can sit here to be interrupted by 
counsel. (A general laugh, in which the jury joined.) I must 
commit if this sort of conduct is repeated. Prisoner at the bar, 
what have you to say to the charge ? 

" Counsel for the Prisoner. — My friend has not made out any 
case, and I submit there is nothing to go to the jury. 

226 MUEDER. 

" Judge. — Gemmen of the jury, you liave heard such of the 
facts of this distressing case as are capable of being conveyed to 
your knowledge. Gemmen, the criminal law of this country 
draws a happy distinction between assumed guilt and guilt actually 
proved. In Hawkins's * Pleas of the Crown,' you will find all 
this laid down much better then I can explain it to you. Gemmen, 
I shall not detain you with any further observations, but I leave 
the case in your hands, with this simple observation, that if you 
have any doubt, you must give the benefit of that doubt to the 

" The Jury (laughing amongst themselves). — Of course we 
must let him off, as we heard nothing against him. 

*^ Foreman of the Jury. — We find the prisoner not guilty. 

** Judge. — Prisoner at the bar, you have had a very narrow 
escape. If we see you here again you will be most certainly trans- 
ported — you belong, I believe, to a bad lot. Discharge the 
prisoner." ^ 

The learned judge, on reading this account of the trial, which 
was penned by a witty barrister of that day, was, we are told, 
deeply oifended, and never forgave the writer. Beyond all doubt 
there was a trial, which trial was a mockery of justice, the judge 
having frequently in the course of the case addressed the County of 
Mayo jury as " Gemmen of the Grand Jury of the County of 
Gal way " — but it is quite another thing to say that, with all its 
absurdities, he could have presented the grotesque features of this 

A.D. 1830. — At the Summer Assizes of this year was tried a 
case of wilful murder committed a quarter of a century previously. 
The facts are these : The country, at the close of the year 1806, was 
sorely distracted by the continual disputes between the landlords 
and their tenants, and between the tithe-owners and the tithe- 
payers. Secret societies called Threshers arose, vengeance was 
wreaked on the hay-yards of such gentlemen or middle men as 
excited the wrath or suspicions of the brotherhood of this secret 
society ; and frequently, where at evening had been seen a large 
and well-filled haggard, nought was visible in the morning but 

MS» " Note Book of a Western Barrister." 



MURDER, 227 

empty space, the wasted grain and the valuable hay being scattered 
over the adjacent fields and roads often to a considerable dis- 

Tyrawley, the northern barony of Mayo, was, at this period, in- 
fested with a gang of Threshers of peculiar daring and activity, the 
most prominent of whom was Murtagh Lavan, usually termed 
'' Murty the Shaker," a sobriquet which he derived from his 
remarkable dexterity in scattering the contents of the various hay- 
yards, and, for a considerable period, this reckless gang was a terror 
to the entire barony. But there is fortunately neither union nor 
faith amongst the wicked. 

After having been the principal in numberless acts of destruction 
and lawlessness, Murtagh became a private informer, and was 
equally useful to the Government whether the accused were guilty 
or innocent ; and he accordingly received very large rewards for 
bringing many to the gallows, when his career was cut short by a 
violent death. That he had turned informer was privately known ; 
and in consequence of this private knowledge, a band of his former 
accomplices planned and accomplished his murder in a singularly 
daring way. It appeared that he went one evening, accompanied 
by his wife, to a christening. He had not been very long there 
when he was called out ; she followed him, and in her presence he 
was assailed by a number of blackened and armed men, one of 
whom felled him with a hatchet like an ox in the slaughter-house. 
He was never allowed to rise, for the others trampled upon him 
when down, and struck him with various weapons. The wretched 
woman (his wife) fled into a corner, an unharmed spectatress of the 
whole murderous scene, and, what has rarely occurred under similar 
occurrences, without making any attempt to fling herself between 
her husband and the murderers. 

Immediately on information being forwarded to the Goverument 
of the audacious murder of the informer, proclamations offering 
large rewards for the discovery and conviction of the perpetrators 
were issued. Five of the murderers were apprehended, tried on 
the Connaught Circuit, found guilty, and executed in 1806. One 
of them named M^Ginty fled to England immediately after the 
commission of the crime, and returned to this country in 1810, and 
on the very night of his return was apprehended, sent to the jail of 


Castlebar, and, in the Spring Assizes of 1811, was put upon liis 
trial. Mr. French and Mr. Daniel appeared for the Crown, and 
Mr. Guthrie for the prisoner. 

A curious point was saved in this man's favour after conviction, 
when an arrest of judgment was moved for on the ground that 
the principal witness against him was a felon, who himself, after 
having been tried, was sentenced to capital punishment, and there- 
fore was civiliter mortuns, dead in law, and being dead could not 
be received as a competent witness. The objection was, however, 
overruled by the judges in Dublin, on the ground that the witness 
had received a pardon, and could be, therefore, considered a living 
witness again. The death of the wretched prisoner was a dreadful 
one, for he fought for his life for an hour before he was flung 
into eternity, and he died denouncing vengeance against his be- 

Four-and-twenty years after the murder of Murtagh Lavan — it 
was in the spring of 1830 — a woman was making her way across a 
stream running through a gentleman's grounds in the County 
Sligo, when she was prevented by a caretaker, whose name was 
CufFe, who obliged her to turn back. 

" Musha, bad luck to you then," with bitter earnestness, ex- 
claimed the woman; "thank God, you can't murther me as you did 
Murtagh Lavan, long ago." 

Her words were heard by a policeman, who happened to be 
angling just then in the stream, and who promptly brought her 
into the presence of a magistrate, where, after the policeman had 
stated what he had heard, she attempted to retract her words. 
But the magistrate was not to be trifled with ; for he gravely in- 
formed her that she Avould be punished unless she told all she 

Overcome with fear, she said that she knew the caretaker Cufle, 
and saw him on the day of the murder of the informer Murtagh 
Lavan. CufFe was immediately committed to stand his trial at the 
approaching assizes. The Grand Jury found a true bill against 
him, and he was put upon his trial before Mr. Justice Yandeleur. 
The widow of the murdered man identified him, and swore that she 
had seen him whirl the hatchet around his head, and with one 
deadly cut drive it into the head of the man, who was dead in a 


moment. The other woman was next sworn, and gave her evidence 
unhesitatingly. Without turning in the box, the jury found the 
prisoner guilty of the wilful murder of Murtagh Lavan in the year 

His execution followed soon after, and his death was mourned 
by many men who thought that, after four-and-twenty years, his 
crime might be forgotten ; and they said, too, that Murtagh Lavan 
was a low informer, and had richly deserved his fate. 

A.D. 1832.— On the roll of the Connaught Bar Society is 
inscribed in this year, for the first time, the name of one who 
has since won imperishable fame as an orator, the Right Honour- 
able James Whiteside, afterwards Lord Chief Justice of Ire- 
land. Born in the County of Wicklow in 1806, he was the son 
of the late Rev. W^illiam Whiteside. Entering Trinity College, 
Dublin, in early youth, he had a distinguished collegiate career ; 
was called to the bar in 1830, went probation on the Connaught Cir- 
cuit in 1831, and was proposed in 1832 by George French, Esq., 
K.C., and seconded by James Henry Blake, Esq., k.c, a Catholic 
lawyer of great eminence. As Mr. Whiteside remained only two 
years on our Circuit, which he left the year of his marriage with 
Miss Rosetta Napier, sister to the Right Honourable Joseph Napier, 
late Lord High Chancellor of Ireland, to join the north-east bar, his 
history is bound up chiefly with the latter, and we might therefore, 
if such were our wish to do, leave the memoir of his public life to 
some future writer on that Circuit, on which, in great part, he won 
renown. But James Whiteside was one of these men from whom 
we do not wish to part. The fame he achieved is the heritage of 
Ireland ; and though he remained amongst the Connaught bar for 
a short time, still may not we be allowed to claim some part in 
one who, for a little while, was on the Circuit ? And if, as the 
poet tells us — 

'' Bright names will hallow song," 

then, too, assuredly, " bright names will hallow story, and his was 
the brightest ! " And so we shall keep a place for him amongst 
the men who have shed renown on the Connaught bar. 

In 1842 he was called to the Inner Bar, and in 1844 was 
leading counsel for Charles Gavan Duffy in the State Trials of that 


memorable year, when the Repeal agitators, O'Connell, his son 
John, Thomas Matliew Ray, Dr. Gray, and Richard Barrett^ were 
prosecuted by the Government of Sir Robert Peel. Many inci- 
dents of a sensational character enlivened the progress of that trial. 
One would have thought that so late as 1844 duelling was dead and 
gone. Nevertheless, and it is a matter of history, that the Right 
Hon. Thomas Berry Cusack Smith, then actually Attorney- General 
for Ireland, flung a murderous challenge aci'oss the table to Gerald 
FitzGibbon, Esq., Q.c, counsel for one of the traversers, and a 
distinguished member of the Connaught Circuit. This was the 
last attempt, and by the first law officer of the Crown, to revive the 
barbarous custom of duelling at the Irish bar. 

It was on this eventful occasion that Mr. Whiteside delivered the 
eloquent and powerful oration which placed him foremost amongst 
the orators of his country. 

The acclamations with which his speech was received were 
almost unprecedented in a court of justice. His eloquence, his 
passion, his fervent appeal, had so electrified his hearers that, 
whether they sympathised with the traversers or with the Govern- 
ment, they were borne away by an irresistible impulse in admira- 
tion of the man whose great and natural abilities were on this 
occasion so prominently displaj^ed. 

In the very commencement of those trials, there was what is 
called a challenge to the array, because a portion of the jury list, 
containing twenty-three Catholic names, had been abstracted from 
the custody of the sheriff before the trial had commenced. The 
challenge was overruled by the Irish Bench ; but the circumstances 
formed a principal portion of the grounds upon which an appeal 
was taken to the House of Lords, with a view to set aside the 
verdict, which was against Mr. O'Connell and others, the accused. 
The House of Lords gave judgment, and that House, to their immor- 
tal credit be it spoken, reversed the judgment of the Irish Queen's 
Bench. It was on the 4th of September, 1844, that the question 
was debated before the Law Lords, the Lord Chancellor (Lord 
Lyndhurst), Lord Brougham, Lord Cottenham, Lord Campbell, 
and Lord Denman. Lord Lyndhurst, the Tory Chancellor, and 
Lord Brougham, the ex-Whig Chancellor, delivered their judg- 
ments, that the judgment of the Irish Queen's Bench do stand ; 


whilst Lord Cottenham, Lord Campbell, and Lord Denman were 
for its reversal. " My lords/' observed Lord Denman, " if this 
be trial by jury, then trial by jury becomes a mockery, a delu- 
sion, and a snare." 

The Lord Chancellor, the House of Lords being then full of 
Lay Lords, inquired whether it was the pleasure of their lordships 
that the decision of the Court below should be affirmed. The 
overwhelming majority were in favour of the judgment remaining 
undisturbed. Lord Wharncliffe, President of the Council, amid a 
scene of the greatest excitement, then addressed their lordships, 
imploring of the lords unlearned in the law not to interfere in the 
matter, '' and to leave the case in the hands of the Law Lords, who 
in fact constitute the Court of Appeal. If noble lords," he said, 
"unlearned in the law, should presume to decide questions of law 
by their votes, he very much feared that the authority of the House 
as a Court of Justice must be greatly impaired." 

Lord Brougham, " deeply lamenting the decision of the 
majority of the Law Lords, concurred with what had fallen from 
the President of the Council." 

Lord Campbell. — " With reference to what has been said of the 
distinction between the Laiu Lords and Lay Lords, and leaving 
the decision with the Law Lords, it is unnecessary for me to say 
more than that the distinction is unknown to the Constitution, and 
that there is no distinct order of Law Lords in the formation of 
your lordships' house. But there is a distinction in reason and the 
fitness of things between members of a Court who have heard a case 
argued, and members of that Court who have not heard it argued ; 
and those only who have heard the arguments should take part in 
the decision. I believe that none but those that are called the 
Law Lords have constantly attended while the case has been debated 
at your lordships' bar." 

The Lord Chancellor. — (Be it remembered that his lordship 
actually formed a part of the Government who were for maintaining 
the judgment of the Court below ; but he was Lord High Chancellor 
of England, and did not forget his duty) — ** I think those noble 
lords who have not heard the arguments will decline voting if I put 
the question again." 

The Marquis. of Clanricarde, — *^My lords, I think it right to 



say if any noble lord, not learned in the law, who has not heard 
the whole argument, votes in addition to the Law Lords on this 
question, I shall, as a matter of privilege, think it my duty also to 
give my vote. In stating that intention, I must also state that I 
should be very sorry to be reduced to that necessity ; for I should 
look on the course of proceeding which would oblige me so to act 
to be one of the most calamitous nature to the House and the 
country. I think it infinitely better that all those noble lords who 
are not in the common acceptation of the term ' Law Lords,' 
should leave the House." 

All the Lay Lords then withdrew, and the judgment was re- 

Business flowed in too rapidly upon Mr. Whiteside. His 
health gave way, and for two years he was obliged to seek the 
repose of a southern climate. In Italy his active mind was em- 
ployed in the production of a book entitled '' Italy in the Nine- 
teenth Century." In that book one cannot fail to observe, how 
in the richness of his mind he found a beauty in those services 
whose compositions would appear to us to have had a celestial 
rather than a terrestrial origin. " The music," writing of the 
TenebrsB at which he assisted in the Sistine Chapel, " a master- 
piece of composition to which the Lamentations were chanted, 
was the most thrilling to which mortal ear can listen. The har- 
monious cadences were sometimes so mournful as to make the 
hearers weep. So forcibly were my feelings afi'ected, that I for- 
got fatigue, and I was enabled to stand three hours listening to 
sounds which at times resembled more the wailing of spirits than 
terrestrial music. At certain stages of the service a priest, with 
noiseless step, moved towards the frame upon which the lights were 
placed, and slowly extinguished one. It was strange that an act so 
simple should arrest the mind ; yet, as the service proceeded, I 
watched the process with anxiety intense, and when the last taper 
was extinguished, I comprehended the idea intended to be conveyed, 
that now the light of the world was extinguished." ^ 

Keturning to the bar in 1848, he was counsel for William Smith 
O'Brien and his fellow-conspirators in that year. In the month of 

' Whiteside's " Italy," Vol. iii., p. 249. 


August, 1851, lie was returned to the House of Commons as Mem- 
ber for Enniskillen, which borough he continued to represent until 
the month of April, 1859, when he was elected one of the Members 
for the University of Dublin. He was Solicitor- General for Ireland 
in Lord Derby's first administration in 1852, Attorney-General in 
Lord Derby's second administration in 1858-59, when he was sworn 
a member of the Privy Council in Ireland. He frequently came 
special counsel on the Connaught Circuit in those years, and was 
invariably both pleasing and pleased. His speeches were elo- 
quent, and they were telling ; but the most effective was in the 
case of Thelwall v. Yelverton, delivered in the Court of Common 
Pleas in Dubhn in 186 L The action was to try the validity of 
the marriage of the Hon. Major Yelverton with Miss Theresa Long- 
worth, who was the daughter of an English merchant. She had a 
brother who was Her Britannic Majesty's Consul in Turkey. Dur- 
ing the Crimean campaign she made the acquaintance of Major 
Yelverton, an Officer of the Koyal Artillery at Constantinople. She 
visited the Crimea as the guest of Major-General and Mrs. Strau- 
benzie, at whose residence she renewed her acquaintance with the 
defendant. A correspondence between the parties followed. Major 
Yelverton and she met afterwards at various places in Scotland, 
in England, and in France, and, according to her statement, an 
engagement was entered into in the first-named country, which, 
according to the law of that country, constituted a valid marriage. 
But this not satisfying her conscience, they agreed to visit Ireland, 
in order to celebrate a marriage which would satisfy her conscien- 
tious scruples. 

The parties journeyed together to Rostrevor, where a priest per- 
formed a ceremony, which was void as a marriage if Major Yelverton 
were a Protestant. He insisted he was; she insisted he was not. 
The questions the jury had to try were : 1st. Was there a valid 
marriage performed in Scotland ? 2ndly. Was there a valid mar- 
riage performed in Ireland ? The counsel for the plaintiff were 
Sergeant Sullivan, late Lord Chancellor of Ireland ; the Eight 
Hon. James Whiteside, q.c, m.p. ; Francis MacDonough, Esq., 
Q.c, M.p. j John F. Townsend, Esq., ll.d.^ 

' Now Judge of the Admiralty Court. 



Counsel for defendant : The Bight Hon. Ahraham Brewster, 
Q.c. (afterwards Lord Chancellor of Ireland) ; Sergeant Arm- 
strong, Q.c. ; John Thomas Ball, q.c. (since Lord Chancellor of L-e- 
land) ; and H. P. Jellett, q.c, ll.d. 

Sergeant Sullivan stated the case. His speech awakened the 
sympathies of the world in favour of his client, the unhappy and 
unfortunate Theresa Longworth. On the ninth day Mr. Whiteside 
rose, and never did his commanding presence look to more advan- 
tage than on that evening. He had spoken for five hours, and 
thus concluded : '' How stands the question now that the whole 
of this great trial is before you ? Now that you have all the 
facts ; and I cannot dwell at this hour minutely upon each par- 
ticular circumstance as I might have done, if I had gained you 
at an earlier hour of the day, in endeavouring to reason it step 
by step. I ask you to judge of that woman as she appeared before 
you, and then say do you believe her. Ask yourselves, what 
fact has been proved against her with any living man, save the 
defendant ? Her crime is that she loved him too dearly and 
too well. Had she possessed millions, she would have flung 
them at his feet. Had she a throne to bestow, she would 
have placed him upon that throne. She gave him the king- 
dom of her heart, and made him the sovereign of her affections. 
There he reigned with undisputed sway. Great the gift ! Our 
affections were by the Almighty hand planted in the human heart. 
They have survived the Fall, and repaired the ravages of sin and 
death. They dignify, exalt, and inspire our existence here below, 
which without them were cold, monotonous, and dull. They unite 
heart to heart by adamantine links. Nor are their uses limited to 
this life. We may well believe that when the mysterious union be- 
tween soul and body is dissolved, the high affections of our nature, 
purified, spiritualized, and immortalized, may add to the felicity un- 
speakable reserved for the spirits of the just made perfect through 
the countless ages of eternity. She gave him her affections ; she 
gave him her love — a woman's love ! Who can describe its devo- 
tion ? If he had taken that woman for his wife, misery would have 
endeared him to her, poverty she would have shared, from sickness 
and misfortune she never would have fled ; she would have been 
his constant companion, his guide, his friend — his polluted mis- 


tress never ! Therefore I now call upon you to do justice to that 
injured woman. You cannot restore her to the husband she adored, 
or to the happiness she enjoyed. You cannot give colour to that 
faded cheek, nor lustre to the eye that has been dimmed with many 
a tear. You cannot relieve the sorrows of her bursting heart. But 
you may restore her to her place in society. You may by your 
verdict enable her to say, ' Rash I have been ; indiscreet I may 
have been through excess of affection for you, but guilty never ! ' 
You may replace her in the rank she would never disgrace ; you 
may restore her to that society in which she is qualified to shine, 
and has ever adorned. To you I commit this great cause. I am 
not able longer to address you. Would to God that I had talents 
or physical energy to exert either or both longer on the part of this 
injured, insulted woman. She finds an advocate in you — she finds 
it in the respected judge on the Bench — she finds it in every heart 
that beats within this court, and in every honest man throughout 
the country." 

Chief Justice Monahan, on the next day, charged the jury, and 
that charge has been ranked amongst the best, the most remarkable, 
of the charges of our judges. Of the future progress of that great 
case, after it passed out of the Irish Courts, we are not about to 
discuss. The jury retired, and, after the space of an hour, re- 
turned into Court. Their coming was awaited with intense excite- 
ment by a densely crowded Court. 

'^How say you, gentlemen?" said the Chief Justice 'mid a pro- 
found silence. " Have you agreed to your verdict ? " 

The Foreman replied that they had. " We find that there was 
a Scotch marriage, and we also find that there was an Irish 

The Chief Justice. — " Then you find that the defendant was a 
Roman Catholic at the time of their marriage ? " 
The Foreman said that that was their belief. 
Before the Foreman had spoken the last of his words — which 
gave the plaintiff an unqualified verdict— the silence was broken by 
an uproarious vociferation, which the multitudes in the hall took 
up ; on it passed to the quays where knots of people were discussing 
the case : but when Mr. Whiteside issued from the Court, it 
appeared as if men had lost their reason. Loud and prolonged and 


uproarious was the cheering ; it appeared as if they could have 
fallen down at his feet and adored him. 

Mr. Whiteside was reappointed Attorney- General for Ireland in 
Lord Derby's third administration in July, 1865, and was soon 
after made Lord Chief Justice of L'eland. In addition to his 
" Italy in the Nineteenth Century/' he has written other works — 
'' Vicissitudes of the Eternal City," published in 1859 ; " Life and 
Death of the Irish Parliament," in 1863 ; and "Church in Ireland," 
published in 1865. FaiHng health induced him in 1876 to try the 
balmy air of the south of England; but " his wine of life was on 
the lees," and he died on Saturday, the 25th of November, 1876. 
On the following Monday the judges in all the Courts spoke feelingly 
of the illustrious dead, and then adjourned in respect to his memory. 
The Hon. James O'Brien, senior of the Justices of the Queen's 
Bench, announced the adjournment of the Court in consequence of 
the lamented decease of the distinguished Chief Justice, " who for 
many years had occupied so distinguished a position before the 
public, and whose unrivalled genius was the ornament of the pro- 
fession to which he belonged." Yes, his abilities were an ornament 
of that profession to which he was unalterably attached, and, recall- 
ing his courtesy, and his uniform solicitude for the privileges and 
dignity of the bar, its members had reason to lament his loss. 

Mr. John H. Plunkett. 

The Connaught Bar Society, while wishing every happiness to 
one of their number, Mr. John H. Plunkett, who had been appointed 
Solicitor- General for New South Wales, were selfish enough to regret 
that their evenings would no longer be gladdened by his ceaseless 
anecdote and learning. In 1831 he had given notice of a motion 
to abolish the ballot on circuit; but before the next meeting he had 
left for another hemisphere. 

Mr. Scott, K.C., had also some beneficent notices to bring before 
the bar in this year, one of which, preventing card-playing after 
twelve o'clock on Saturday night, was carried. Mr. Scott, who was 
in good practice on the Circuit, was an extremely prosy, long- 
winded speaker. It is related that on one occasion he and Mr. 
Robert Holmes were Qpgaged as counsel in a case at hearing in the 


Court of Exchequer. Mr. Scott, as usual, spoke with lengthened 
zeal, and for three long hours. On resuming his seat, the Barons 
informed him that the case should stand for judgment. Meanwhile 
the Court of King's Bench was at a stand-still, waiting for Mr. 
Scott to come in ; at last he and Mr. Holmes made their appear- 
ance. " Mr. Scott," said the Chief Justice, " we have been waiting 
for 3^ou : there are only two cases in our list ; one I see you are in, 
and in the other Mr. Holmes ; we shall be happy to hear you." 
"Well, my lords," replied Mr. Scott, '* I must ask the indulgence 
of the Court, as I am physically unable to go on until I get some 
refreshment. I am tired to death, my lords, having spoken for 
three hours in another Court." The Chief Justice said, " Of course ; 
and no inconvenience can arise, inasmuch as I see Mr. Holmes, 
who can now proceed with his motion." Mr. Scott, having thanked 
their lordships, withdrew. " Now, Mr. Holmes." " Ah ! my lord," 
said Mr. Holmes, *'I also have to claim the indulgence of the 
Court, as I, too, am physically unable to go on until I get some 
refreshment. I am tired to death, my lords, having been in the 
Exchequer during a great part of the day." " But, Mr. Holmes, 
you were not speaking : Mr. Scott has been speaking for three 
hours ; what has tired you ?" '* Ah ! listening to Mr. Scott, my 
lord." " Capital," exclaimed the Chief Justice. 

A.D. 1833. — The legal education of a barrister was regarded in 
the early half of the present century as incomplete unless he had 
studied at chambers in England. There the previously acquired 
science of law, in its multifarious branches, was utilized by its ap- 
plication to the multitude of cases which crowded before the stu- 
dent in chamber. Well, in those times there were two eminent 
personages at the English bar, with whom Connaught Circuit men 
had mostly read— Anthony Richard Blake, better known as " Blake 
the Remembrancer," and Andrew Harry Lynch, Master in Chan- 
cery, and at the same time m.p. for Galway. And now about 
those Anglo-Connaught lawyers. 

Anthony Richard Blake was a shrewd and ingenious person, 
whose history is not a little singular. A younger son of a respect- 
able house, his first essay in life was as a militia officer. His mind 
was active ; and though without the advantage of regular service 
in the line, he soon acquired so much skill and knowledge as to 



become adjutant to the regiment. Upon the exchange of militiajv 
Mr. Blake went to England, where the troops committed to his in- 
structions were soon distinguished by their superiority over the 
rest of those pacific levies. With the good luck of many of his 
countrymen, he formed a useful and happy matrimonial alliance, 
and was impelled by his new connexions, and by a consciousness of 
ability, to go to the bar. Yet he knew that he had few qualifi- 
cations necessary for distinction as an advocate, and he therefore, 
immediately after his call to the English bar, chose the less bril- 
liant but more certain path of equity pleading. Professing the 
Roman Catholic religion, he engaged in the transactions of the 
London board of noblemen and gentlemen of that persuasion, who 
were associated for the attainment of their civil rights. In this 
body he soon gained an ascendency, and became intimate with the 
chief Catholics of England, and by them was employed, in his pro- 
fessional capacity, in the management of their affairs. Many of the 
solicitors who had thus employed Mr. Blake had likewise Protestant 
clients, on whose behalf they used to consult him. In this way he 
was introduced to the Marquis of Wellesley, who formed the highest 
opinion of his abilities. The Marchioness of Wellesley being a 
Catholic, may have influenced the Marquis in having his advice 
on matters connected with his property. Being of elegant appear- 
ance, of boundless information, and of ceaseless anecdote, the 
Catholic lawyer became intimate at the houses of many a noble 
family ; so that Lord Eldon could not but approve of the prosperous 
associate of the nobles of the land. In Ireland, however, save by 
some members of the bar, and by his County of Galway friends, he 
was unknown ; so that much astonishment was created when, at the 
close of 1821, the approaching arrival of the Marquis of Wellesley, 
with his friend and counsel, Mr. Blake, was announced. It was 
soon ascertained that Blake was amongst the dispensers of fortune. 
Mr. Saurin was at that time, and had been for fourteen years, since 
1807, Attorney- General, and principal of the Executive in Ireland ; 
but Saurin's anti- Catholic prejudices were distasteful to Mr. Blake, 
to whom marked civilities were paid by the great Catholic champion, 
William Conyngham Plunket. That Blake was a prime mover of 
the Irish Government quickly became apparent by a trivial circum- 
stance. Lord Wellesley was, soon after his arrival, invited by the 


Corporation of Dublin to a public dinner. Mr. Blake was amongst 
the guests ; and as such, having come over with the Marquis, his 
health was proposed. Before the learned gentleman could say a 
word, the Lord Lieutenant started up to return thanks on his be- 
half. This excited universal astonishment ; but Mr. Blake inter- 
posing, expressed his gratitude himself. Each succeeding day 
showed that the tendency of the government was in favour of the 
Catholics. Mr. Saurin was dismissed from the Attorney-General- 
ship, to which Mr. Plunket was, in the opening of 1822, appointed. 
Mr. Blake, though the dispenser of favours to the bar, was himself, 
until the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, inadmissible to the 
Bench ; but on the first opportunity, he was in 1823 made Chief 
Remembrancer of the Court of Exchequer, which then had an equit- 
able jurisdiction. 

As the office of Chief Remembrancer has been long since abo- 
lished, a word on that office and duties may not be out of place. He 
was the principal officer of the Court. Li his office, all bonds for the 
king's debts, for appearances, and for observing orders, were entered 
or lodged ; and he made out all the necessary reports thereon. 
All informations upon penal statutes, and upon forfeitures, and 
escheats, either at law or in equity, all inquisitions on commis- 
sions out of the Court to find out the King's title to any land for- 
feited or escheated to the Crown (especially to those which were 
forfeited by the rebellions of 1641 and 1688), as also several of the 
proceedings upon the acts of settlement and explanation, were filed 
in his office. His duties, and they were numerous, are contained at 
length in Howard's ^^ Revenue Exchequer." The processes out of this 
office, quaint and amusing, are worthy of a remembrance. Thus 
" the Summonster's Process :" " George III., &c., to the Sheriff of 
our County of Leitrim, greeting : — As you love yourself, and all 
that is yours, see that you have at our exchequer in Ireland, on the 
morrow of All Souls, next coming, all the underwritten debts, that 
is to say, fines and amerciaments imposed, and recognizances for- 
feited, at a general assize, held for the said county, the 26th Sep- 
tember, 1772. Dated at the King's Courts, Dublin, the 18th day 
of June in the thirteenth year of our reign." 

The "Process of the roll of the Pipe," out of the Chief 



Eemembrancer's Office, was nearly similar.^ " George III., &c. to 
the Sheriff of the County of Sligo, greeting — Take care as you love 
yourself, and all belonging to you, that you be and appear before 
the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer, at the King's Courts, 
Dublin, on the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, next coming, 
and that you have with you whatsoever to us is due of all debts 
underwritten.'^ * 

This office of Chief Remembrancer was filled by Anthony 
Richard Blake for many years, and he was an indefatigable labourer 
in the public service. Several important local improvements are 
due to his industry, learning, and sagacity ; but he was chiefly 
conspicuous as a Commissioner of National Education, in the 
administration of which system he took a leading part. He was 
also a commissioner of charitable donations and bequests, and was 
a Privy Councillor. His prosperous career was terminated prema- 
turely by his death in 1849.^ 

Andrew Harry Lynch, also a Galway man, was called to the 
English bar, where he became a leading equity lawyer. He repre- 
sented his native town, Galway, for many years, even after he 
became Master in Chancery in England, for the Act of Parliament 
then excluding the judges from the House of Commons, did not 
exclude the Masters. His chambers had several students from 
Connaught, amongst the most remarkable of whom was James 
Henry Blake, Esq., q.c. Mr. Malachy Fallon, a member of the 
Connaught Bar Society from 1827 to 1838, and afterwards assist- 
ant barrister for the County Limerick, was an assiduous student 
in Mr. Lynch's chambers ; so also was Mr. Henry Baldwin, q.c, 
member of the Connaught Bar Society from 1827 to 1850. These 
and many others of the Circuit acquired their practical knowledge 
of pleading and conveyancing in the respective chambers of their 
learned countrymen, Messrs. Blake and Lynch."* 

Mr. Baldwin was for years in good, we might say in leading. 

1 The Pipe Roll was the Exchequer Roll, also called '' The Great Roll of 
the Pipe." 

^ Howard's *' Revenue Exchequer," Vol. ii., p. 279. 

3 Sheil's "Sketches of the Irish Bar," Vol. i., p. 123, n., 192, 368. 

* " The Irish Bar," hy Roderick J. O'Flanagan, p. 98. 



practice on the Circuit. His father was a captain in a regiment 
of the line, and his mother a member of a very old Catholic 
family in the County of Dublin, the Segraves of Cabra, now 
denominated of Kiltymon, in County Wicklow. Her sister. Miss 
Clorinda Segrave, was married to Mr, Lynch, of Barna, in the 
County of Galway, and in this way Mr. Baldwin had a connexion 
on the Connaught Circuit. Of delicate frame, he had a heart 
overflowing with kindness — a kindness which nearly cost him his 
life in 1832. Enveloped in a heavy, furred muffling coat, he took 
his seat in the inside of the mail-coach on a night in March on his 
way to the Gralway Assizes. The wind was cold, cutting, and bitter. 
Alighting at one of the frequent stages, he observed, on the outside, 
a passenger without a muffling coat coughing, and almost perishing 
with cold, Baldwin offered him his coat ; the one refused, the 
other insisted ; but the outside passenger at length was constrained 
to put on the coat, saying, " This good act, counsellor, will be before 
you in another world." The bugle sounded " All right ; " and 
in a few moments the four-in-hand was on its way to Galway, 
Shivering, Baldwin now suffered from what he had done. His 
briefs were all returned, the fees sent back, and he was soon in a 
raging fever at the hospitable house of his cousin and future brother- 
in-law, Mr. Nicholas Lynch, of Barna, d.l., both being afterwards 
married to sisters, the daughters of Stephan Grehaa, Esq., of 
Rutland Square, in the city of Dublin. At Barna he recovered 
s-lowly and steadily. His name subsequently appears in many cases 
on circuit, but perhaps the most remarkable of the trials in which 
he was engaged was that of the Right Rev. Dr. O'Finan, Catholic 
Bishop of Killala, of which we shall hereafter speak. In 1840 he 
was counsel for the plaintiff in an action tried in Galway for breach 
of promise of marriage, when a Mr. O^Flanagan was defendant, and 
where the jury gave heavy damages against him for *' breathing 
vows, but ne'er a true one ! '* 

Mr. Baldwin, of a weakly, delicate frame, was again taken ill 
at the Summer Assizes for the County of Galway, in 1844. He 
had spoken to evidence in a crowded court, and the strain on his 
lungs was too great. Rest from the toils of circuit would at the 
time have been most acceptable to him, and that rest was almost 
within his reach in 1846, when his party came into power, on the 



overthrow of the Government of Sir Robert Peel. In the mot^ 
ment that took place, Chief Baron Brady became Chancellor, Mr. 
Pigott, Q.C, Chief Baron, James Henry Monahan, q.c, of our 
.circuit, became Attorney- General, Mr. Hatchell Solicitor-General, 
and the Mastership in Chancery, vacant by the death of Master 
Goold, remained to be filled. The Earl of Bessborough, Lord 
Lieutenant, offered the post to Mr. Baldwin : but Mr. O'Connell 
was a factor in the equation who could not by any means be 
eliminated ; and he demanded and obtained the place for Jeremiah 
John Murphy, Esq., q.c, of the Munster Circuit. The following 
is Mr. Baldwin's account of the transaction which deprived him of 
a place in every way suited to his tastes : — 

" The more I learn of the affair, the more I lament the accident 
that led to the result. The Lord Lieutenant wrote to Kedington 
to say that my appointment was actually made. O'Connell's state- 
ment is, that he, as father of the Catholic bar, called on the Lord 
Lieutenant and demanded the situation for a Roman Catholic. 
The Lord Lieutenant told him that it was arranged that a person 
of that persuasion should have it. O'Connell then asked it for 
Murphy. The Lord Lieutenant said he was too late, as I was 
appointed, and the letter to notify it to the Chancellor was written 
and on the table. O'Connell, finding it was not posted, and conse- 
quently that no official communication had been made, insisted 
that it was within the control of the Government, and asked it as a 
personal compliment to himself. To this they yielded. My 
appointment superseded — Murphy substituted for me.*' ^ 

The appointment of Master Murphy closed for a season the 
avenue to promotion ; and again in 1850, when the death of Chief 
Justice Doherty, w^ho for twenty years had presided in the Court 
of Common Pleas, caused another series of changes, he was still 
passed over ; but in the same year a place of all others unsuited 
to his tastes was ofi'ered to him, that of " Commissioner of the 
Insolvent Court." He accepted it nevertheless at a salary of £2,000 
a-year, and, as a matter of course, resigned his ofQce of Assistant 
Barrister of Cork, which for years he had held. 

The several appointments made by Lord John Russell during 

* " Irish Bar," by Roderick J. O'Flanagan, Esq., b.k, p. 279. 


the four years he had now been in power, were undoubtedly of 
the best men the Irish bar could boast of. Nevertheless there 
appeared, from the pen of some scurrilous anonymous disap- 
pointed pamphleteer, a pamphlet entitled " The Voice of the 
Bar," censuring all that had been so appointed, but especially 
those that came from the Connaught Circuit. How undeserved 
the censure will be patent to all who read in the annals of that 
period the names of those promoted. Thirty-four years have 
since gone over ; not one of the vilified men is living now. The 
pamphleteer is gone ; all are gone ; and so cui bono to disentomb a 
pamphlet which has long since lost its interest ? The position of 
Commissioner of Insolvency, spite of its ample pay, was, as we have 
said, entirely unsuited to a mind like Mr. Baldwin's. His health 
soon gave way, and on the 24th May, 1854, he breathed his last. 
Universal regret was felt on that sad occasion. His hearse was 
followed to the Metropolitan Church, Marlborough Street, by 
numerous mourning friends, amongst whom were his brethren of 
the bar who had travelled the Circuit with him. 

Duelling was not yet dead on the Circuit. In 1836, Mr. Walker, 
K.C., fought his brother circuiteer, Mr. Casserly, at Sligo, on some 
question that arose in Court on Registry Appeals; and Mr. Baker, 
K.C., fought on the field of battle Mr. Richard Everard, commonly 
called " Dicky Demurrer; " for Mr. Baker, an extremely irritable 
man, could not brook the affront of Mr. Everard's successfully 
demurring to pleadings that he (Mr. Baker) had signed. There 
was a Mr. Courtenay on the Circuit also, counsel to the Bank of 
Ireland ; and he sent Mr. Everard a challenge to fight him in 
" the fifteen acres, be the same more or less," for setting aside a 
score or so of his declarations. 

A.D. 1837. — Great interest was excited in the early part of this 
year by a case about to be tried in Castlebar — a case where the 
Catholic clergy of a diocese revolted against their bishop —where 
churches were closed, priests suspended, episcopal authority set 
at nought— where altar was arrayed against altar, priest against 
priest, bishop against bishop. Immense was the speculation that 
prevailed in the English press on the coming revelations of the 
abominations of the Church of Rome. But alas, when the day of 
trial came — when troops of reporters from every quarter of the 


empire with itching ears were there — there were no revelations! A 
comparatively prosy trial ensued. The case was that of The Most 
Rev. Dr. 0'Finan,R.C. Bishop of Killala, v. The Hon. Frederick 
Cavendish, proprietor of the '' Castlebar Telegraph/' for the pub- 
lication of a libellous letter accusing the plaintiff of having al- 
lowed his Cathedral Church to run to ruin ; of being an Italian 
monk who was ignorant, or nearly so, of the English language; 
of being cruel, tyrannical, overbearing, and insulting to his priests ; 
of being wholly unworthy of the high office he degraded ; and of 
neither preaching to, nor associating with, his people. It added 
that he was an aristocrat himself, and had been guilty of associat- 
ing with the aristocracy. 

The case was tried at the Lent Assizes for the County of Sligo, 
before the Right Hon. Lewis Perrin, one of the Judges of the 
Queen's Bench. 

The counsel for the Right Reverend plaintiff were John Beatty 
West, K.C., James Henry Blake, k.c, Mathew Baker, and Richard 

Counsel for the defendant — Richard Keatinge, K.c, Edward 
Scott, K.c, William Armstrong, and Henry Baldwin. 

Mr. Everard opened the pleadings, and Mr. James Henry 
Blake, k.c, stated the case. 

It appeared, from his statement, that in 1824, Dr. Waldron, 
Bishop of Killala, being then aged, applied to the Court of 
Rome for a coadjutor ; his application was granted, and the 
Rev. John MacHale was appointed as such, and so continued 
for ten years, until April, 1834, in which month he became 
Bishop thereof, and so continued for two months, when he was 
raised to the Archbishopric of Tuam. Killala then became 
vacant, and three names were selected for the office of bishop ; 
these were the Rev. Messrs. Flannelly, Costello, and Dr. O'Finan. 
Dr. O'Finan was elected ; that election was confirmed by the 
See of Rome, and he was consecrated at Rome in the month 
of March, 1835. It was not without reason that the clergymen 
of Killala diocese selected Dr. O'Finan. He was personally un- 
known to every one of the clergymen of the diocese of Killala 
who gave him their votes ; but he was perfectly known to all 
as a man distinguished for talents and learning. As early 


as 1792, being then twenty years of age, he went to Kome 
for the purpose of receiving the best education to fit him for 
the ministry in which his life was to be spent; and for three 
years he studied in the College of St. Clement's, where he excelled 
as a man of talent. In 1795 he went to the Madelena, celebrated 
as a theological seminary, where he remained for two years. In 
1797 he became a member of the Neapolitan College, and read 
during five years the course necessary for a minister of the 
Christian religion. In 1802 he returned to Rome, and was 
appointed Syndic, something like Bursar in our colleges. He 
filled that responsible situation in the College of St. Clement^s, 
where he passed his noviciate ; but in some time after he was 
transferred to Lisbon, for it is a principle in the Dominican Order, 
to which he belonged, that its members may be sent to any place 
where their services are required. He was appointed Professor of 
Theology in the Irish College in that city, and discharged the duties 
of his office so as to merit universal approbation. In 1805 he 
returned to Ireland, being sent to Waterford, where during seven 
years he acted as Professor of Theology in the episcopal seminary 
newly established in that city. 

In 1812 he was appointed Professor of the College of Corpo 
Santo in Lisbon, and retained his professorship until 1816, when 
he returned to Rome, and was appointed Prior in his old Church of 
St. Clement's. 

Dr. O'Finan remained at Rome until the year 1824, so much 
respected that, though then advanced in life, he was selected to be 
the Preceptor and Confessor of the Grand Duchess of Lucca, sister 
to the Empress of Germany. He spent seven years at her Court, 
and enjoyed there the society of the most distinguished characters 
in Europe. Dr. O'Finan returned to Rome in 18B1, and was 
appointed Companion to the General of the Dominican Order, an 
office next in rank to the head of the Order ; in fact, unless he we-re 
appointed to the head of the Order, he could attain no greater 
object of ambition. Here he remained until the year 1835, when 
he abandoned Rome, and valued friends, and elevated society, to 
settle himself as Bishop of Killala. 

He accepted the office of bishop, and came to Ireland,, not at 
his own solicitation, but at the solicitation of the majority of the 



parish priests in that diocese; but he found even before he had left 
Kome that cabals were at work to counteract his promotion. He 
that was recommended to-day by the voice of the clergymen of the 
diocese was pronounced by them unfit to-morrow. It was insinuated 
that he was too old to be made a bishop, and that he must have 
forgotten the language, as if all this were not equally known before 
to the clergymen who selected him. 

On the 16th of October he amved in Ballina ; that was on 
Friday, and on the Tuesday following he was waited on by thirteen 
of the clergymen who had elected him ; and they demanded that 
he should make an alteration in the revenues of the diocese. They 
required an alteration in the marriage fees, from which he derived 
his chief support as bishop. With respect to the fees of marriage, 
called banns money, they said Doctor O'Finan should place it on 
the same scale as in other dioceses. In some dioceses the bishop 
receives one-half, and in others one-fourth, of the marriage money. 
With respect to those questions, he told them in the first place that 
he was not yet a week in the diocese, and could not give them an 
answer at that moment ; that as bishop of the diocese he had no 
power to make any alteration in the marriage fees, because it was 
perfectly well known that he could not make any alteration to the 
amount of one farthing in the episcopal revenues, as that is a right 
most scrupulously and jealously restricted to the See of Rome ; so 
that he could make no change for better or for worse. They 
appealed against Doctor O'Finan's verdict, to a provincial synod, of 
which Doctor MacHale was head, and he admitted the appeal. 

Amongst the clergymen most forward in pressing these demands 
upon Doctor O'Finan, within one week after his arrival in the 
diocese, were the Eev. Messrs. Flannelly and Costello, competitors 
for the See of Killala, and the E-ev. Mr. Barrett. When Doctor 
Waldron, as we have already told, was Bishop of Killala, Doctor 
MacHale was his Coadjutor Bishop. Bishops in the Catholic 
Church have what are called mensal parishes, given them for their 
support ; and of those the bishops are in effect parish priests, so far 
as regards the revenues derived from them. In each diocese this 
parish is well known; but in the case of a Coadjutor Bishop he 
should have a different one, which is to all intents and purposes 
his mensal parish. By the canon law, when a bishop vacates a 



See, the right of appointing to a mensal parish devolves on the See 
of Kome itself, and the bishop is deprived of all power in the 
matter. The parish of Crossmolina was the one belonging to 
Doctor MacHale as Coadjutor Bishop ; and when, on the death of 
Doctor Waldron, that parish became vacant in consequence of the 
succession of Doctor MacHale to the See of Killala, the appoint- 
ment rested accordingly solely with the See of Kome. By an 
oversight. Doctor MacHale appointed to this parish the Rev. John 
Barrett, an appointment which was ipso facto null and void. Then 
came the election of Doctor O'Finan to the diocese of Killala, an 
election made by parish priests alone ; and at that election the 
vote of the Rev. Mr. Barrett was objected to by some of the clergy- 
men. The question of his right to vote under these circumstances 
was referred to Doctor MacHale, even to him who had made the 
appointment objected to, and he, not being, perhaps, aware of the 
validity of the objection, decided the point in favour of Mr. Barrett, 
who accordingly voted at the election. Doctor MacHale, afterwards 
discovering his error, made application to get the appointment for 
Mr. Barrett to the parish of Crossmolina, and he was distinctly 
refused, for the Court of Rome, acting peremptorily in the matter, 
declined to establish such a precedent as it must have established 
by acceding to his request. All this occurred before Doctor O'Finan 
had ever heard a word on the subject. It was at Rome some friend 
acquainted him of the matter, and of the refusal which Doctor Mac- 
Hale had met with ; and he was also told that if he would apply to 
the sacred college, he would get the right of appointment. He did 
apply, therefore, for the right to appoint to the parish of Crossmo- 
lina, and the appointment was given to him. Mr. Barrett came 
with other clergymen to Doctor O'Finan, within a week after his 
arrival in the diocese, to make a demand for or to require an 
alteration in the marriage fees ; and that being a matter confined 
to parish priests. Doctor O'Finan told Mr. Barrett that he had no 
right to be there, because he was not a parish priest. 

Mr. Barrett said that he had been appointed by Doctor MacHale, 
upon which Doctor O'Finan produced the rescript from Rome, and 
conferred the parish on another priest, the Rev. Mr. Murray ; and 
when that reverend gentleman went to take possession of the parish, 
he was resisted with violence, a tumult and a riot unfortunately 
taking place. 



Doctor O^Finan, seeing himself set at defiance in that manner, 
suspended Mr. Barrett; upon which his partizans closed the chapel 
doors, and for several months there was not a clergyman to officiate 
in the parish of Crossmolina, as the one appointed to the parish hy 
Doctor O'Finan was obstructed in the discharge of his duties by the 

The next thing that occurred, which deepened the dislike of the 
clergy to the object of their choice, was the appointment he made 
of Vicar- General. Before the bishop had left Bome he was sur- 
rounded by several Irish clergymen, with whom he was acquainted 
in that city. Amongst them was Dean Burke. Being appointed 
to the bishopric of Killala, Doctor O'Finan was naturally desirous 
to receive every information relative to the diocese over which he 
was to preside, and to the persons with whom he was about to be 
connected. Accordingly he received from Dean Burke a most 
favourable account of the learning and talents of a clergyman named 
Lyons. Hearing this character from Dean Burke, Doctor O'Finan 
applied at Home for the appointment as Dean of the diocese for Mr. 
Lyons, an appointment which rests exclusivelj^ with the See of 
Rome. On the bishop's arrival in Ireland, of course he saw Dean 
Lyons, and on becoming acquainted with him (being still more 
prepossessed in his favour), he appointed him his Vicar-General, 
an office in the gift of the bishop of the diocese. The Vicar- 
General is the substitute of the bishop himself, and it is the 
inherent right of the Bishop to appoint him. 

Within one week after the arrival of Doctor O'Finan, the clergy- 
men presented a protest against the appointment of Mr. Lyons as 
Vicar- General. In that protest they stated three reasons. The first 
was that the dignity of Dean had been acquired by intrigue. The 
next reasons were that Dean Lyons was litigious. This protest 
was referred to Doctor MacHale as Archbishop, in the nature of an 
appeal. His Grace accepted it, and despatched it to Rome. Doctor 
O'Finan, some time after, received a letter from Cardinal Franzoni, 
Prefect, and head of the College of the Propaganda, in which all 
matters relative to the Roman Church are regulated and decided. 
Now, it is only necessary to mention, respecting this letter, that 
it recommends Doctor O'Finan in strong terms to remove Dean 
Lyons from the Vicar- Generalship of the diocese, as it had been 


reported at Rome that he was an unfit person for that office. Doctor 
O'Finan sent for him on the day after he received it, and put the 
letter into his hands, and he, immediately after he had read it, 
resigned the Vicar- Generalship. But Dean Lyons, having been 
Vicar-General of the diocese, and administrator of the mensal 
parish, had some matters to settle with Doctor 0!Finan ; next day 
all these arrangements were made, and thenceforward Dean Lyons 
ceased all connection with Doctor O'Finan as related to that situa- 
tion. Before retiring he made one request, that his lordship would 
grant him leave of absence to go to Rome, for the purpose of setting 
himself right in the estimation of the sacred college. This request 
was granted. He went to Rome, and appearing before the Cardinal 
Prefect, demanded to know for what reason that letter had been 
written, and upon what grounds it had been recommended to re- 
move him from the office of Vicar-General. The Cardinal was 
astonished at hearing the Dean speak in that manner, and said it 
was his own fault and that of his Bishop if he was removed from 
the office, as he had never commanded such removal; that the 
letter was a private, confidential communication, which Doctor 
O'Finan should not have disclosed even to the Dean himself. 
Dean Lyons said this was surprising, as the communication had 
been publicly known in Ballina ten days before, and he pressed to 
know by whose influence he had written the letter. This the Car- 
dinal said was a point upon which the Dean had no right to insist ; 
but he referred him for information on the subject to Monsignor 
Mai, who received him with much kindness, and made him 
acquainted with the charges brought against him. He then chal- 
lenged an inquiry ; and the result was that a letter was written by 
the Cardinal, not indeed withdrawing the former one, because that 
could not be considered as an official document, but declaring that 
the Dean had completely exonerated himself from the accusations 
of his enemies, and the degree of Doctor of Theology was conferred 
upon him. Dean Lyons, like his bishop, was a man of peace, and 
did not allow his chapel to be desecrated by being turned into a 
political arena, or used for any purpose not strictly religious. He 
had enjoyed the friendship of Doctor Kelly, the late Archbishop of 
Tuam, and had possessed the esteem of Doctor Waldron. The 
Bishop, Doctor O'Finan, was now attacked in the local papers, one 


of which was the " Castlebar Telegraph." An election for the 
County of Mayo was then about to take place, and he told his 
clergymen that it would be more creditable to content themselves 
with recording their silent votes than by taking any active part in 
the election ; and he implored of them, as ministers of God's word, 
to do nothing inconsistent with their characters as ministers of reli- 
gion. That advice, unpalatable to the reverend gentlemen, was said 
to have been, in great part, the cause of the persecutions which this 
old and peaceable prelate experienced from his clergy ; that advice 
was in the year 1834 sanctioned by every prelate of the Church in 
Ireland. There were two short resolutions agreed to by the Roman 
Catholic bishops in that year on this very subject ; and amongst 
the signatures which are affixed thereto is that of Doctor MacHale. 
They were to the effect that the Roman Catholic chapels should not 
be used for any purposes except those devoted to charity and re- 
ligion, and that the Roman Catholic clergymen should not inter- 
fere with the civil rights of their flocks, nor make any reference from 
their altars to political subjects, but confine themselves to the dis- 
charge of the duties of their office. They were also recommended 
not to connect themselves in anywise with political clubs, nor be- 
come secretaries thereof. 

Mr. Keatinge, k.c, stated the case for the defence, which was a 
reiteration of the libel. The bishop's insolence to his clergy, 
counsel commented upon. The cathedral that Dr. MacHale had 
built was going to ruin. Sermons he preached not ; and he set 
himself against all movements of a political nature, even for the 
removal of those disabilities left unremoved by the Act of 1829. 
Better suited was he to the courtier life of his day than to the 
rough and ready life of Bishop of Killala. Witnesses, mostly 
ecclesiastics, were examined on both sides. A verdict was found 
for the plaintiff, with damages iSlOO. The clergy, or a great por- 
tion of them, now received their bishop and his pastorals with dis- 
dain : and Doctor O'Finan found, when too late, that the mitre is 
not without its trials ; and he gladly returned to Rome, where in 
the shade, solitude, and repose of the priory, he resigned the epis- 
copal office, and courted obscurity and happiness — a warning to 
others, who in wisdom of the wise arc taught, in the words of the 
Pontifical, the words Nolo einscopcwi. 



The correspondent of the Times, in chronicling the proceedings 
of that day, states that " an unpleasant disagreement took place in 
the bar-room of the Connaught Bar Society yesterday evening, 
when that learned body were, after dinner, at Kadley's Hotel, 
Dublin. One of the barristers proposing the health of the Duke 
of Wellington, many drank with acclamation the toast, and many 
turned down their glasses. The unpleasant disagreement ended, 
however, happily." ^ 

On the following 17th of March, the bar were in Galway, it 
being the feast of our holy patron St. Patrick, when some kind- 
hearted barrister conceived the idea that he could not, on that 
blessed festival, and for the promotion of true harmony, do better 
than propose the health of the Duke of Wellington. Many at 
once sprung to their feet, vociferating and drinking to the Irish 
hero who, to use the words of the pacific proposer, " had saved 
England and conquered France.^' But many who sprang to their 
feet did so in anger, and to protest against the toast as a political 
one. One barrister there was a Counsellor Casserly, who steered 
a middle course ; for while he wo aid not stand up to do honour 
to the toast, yet would he drink to it sitting down, and not 
alone in one bumper, but in two ; and he felt happy, and his 
happiness became patent to all men — a happiness that lasted 
far into the following day, when this counsellor in the Crown 
Court said, '* I have to apply to your lordship in this case — yes, 
my lord, I have to apply to your lordship to direct the Grand 
Jury — to make a presentment in a malicious burning case for 
my client, whose name I am not in a position to state — some- 
thing or other — ^tisn't about the Trojan horse." *' Mr. Casserly, 
what are the facts, and what is the motion about ? We should 
like to hear a summary of what it is all about," inquired Mr. 
Justice Perrin. " Well, my lord, that is reasonable.'^ Then 
collecting his ideas with a strong effort, he said, "This is the burn- 
ing petition of a horse — my lord — and an ass, arising out of the 
same transaction — was burnt a month or so before — which clearly 
demonstrates the animus of the horse." "Eh!'' exclaimed the 
judge, " say that again, till we make a conditional order." He 

' " Times," 17th June, 1840. 


did not, liowever, say it again, for his learned friend on the 
other side for the ratepayers thought, in the interests of the bar 
and of the public, that it would be as well to let the matter 
stand over until the next day, when the same counsel appearing, 
we have no doubt that it was disposed of in a manner more 
agreeable to the dictates of reason and equity than if it had on 
the previous occasion been disposed of off-hand. 


Charles O'Malley. 

There resided in Upper Temple Street, in the city of Dublin, 
in 1840 a gentleman, who had been a dashing cavalry officer. His 
name was Charles O'Malley, whose brother, P. O'Malley, Esq., q.c, 
was a leading member of the English Bar. Both these gentlemen 
were sons of C. O'Malley, Esq., of the Lodge, near Castlebar. 
Charles was not a mere feather-bed soldier: he had fought in many 
a hard-fought fight ; but the battle of Waterloo was followed by 
the stupid peace of 1815, which closed his happy and blood-stained 
avenue to promotion, and the warrior who expected other wars was 
constrained to hang up his armour, and retire in disgust from a 
service where glories were no longer to be won. Life was becoming 
to him a burden ; he had no occupation for his thoughts. All about 
him was a peace painful to contemplate ; and yet there were the 
wars of words at the assizes. There were the warriors of the bar, 
who went forth fearless to advocate their clients' cause ; and in the 
war of words there was an excitement for the soldier ; and that 
excitement was heightened by the high probability that in such a 
jarring conflict the counsel might be brought at any moment to an 
account for a real or imaginary insult which he inflicted, or was 
supposed to have inflicted, on his angry opponent. Charles 
O'Malley therefore resolved to go to the bar, and having, at gi*eat 
personal inconvenience, '^ eaten all his dinners " on both sides of 
the Channel, he was " called " in 1824, and in the same year went 
as probationer on the Connaught Circuit ; and from that time 
forward he applied himself to the study of the law. His connexions 
in his native county soon obtained for him business, and assizes 
after assizes the voice of this irascible advocate might be heard in 
Court, brandishing his brief as if it were a sabre, as he spoke. 


The anger of this easily angered gentleman was aroused when there 
appeared in the '' Dublin University Magazine," in 1837, the first 
pages of a story entitled " Charles O'Malley, the Irish Dragoon/' 
" Lever," writes Mr. William J. FitzPatrick,^ '' was so fond of giving 
real names to his characters, unlike Dickens, who evinced felicity 
in concocting his Verisophts and Micawbers, that one cannot 
wonder if certain Charles O'Malleys and Tom Burkes of Ours 
felt themselves somewhat awkwardly placed." O'Malley drove 
out to Lever's residence at Kathmines, for the purpose of de- 
manding an explanation of why the writer should thus presume 
to use his name for his book. Lever was from home when he 
called, but must, on his return, have been sorely distressed when 
he saw by his visitor's visiting card, that not alone were those 
characters namesakes, but that one as well as the other was an 
" Lish Dragoon." On the next day Lever called at the Law 
Library, Four Courts, and explained to him that his calling his 
work " Charles O'Malley, the Lish Dragoon," was purely acciden- 
tal. The idea of challenging Lever would make him more 
ridiculous than any of the ridiculous pranks attributed, as he 
supposed, to him in the pages of the " Dublin University." My 
late lamented and learned friend, John Adair, Esq., writes that " I 
was in the library when Lever came there to be introduced to 
O'Malley, and explain that he had not the least intention to allude 
to him. I remember on that occasion speaking to Lever, and 
hearing it said by barrister friends, that O'Malley had consulted 
Edward Litton, q.c, afterwards Master in Chancery, a great friend 
of his, as to bringing an action against Lever for what he wrote." 
Lever informed his publisher, when reprinting in book form the 
articles that had previously appeared in the magazine, that Mr. 
O'Malley had written to demand a change of title, but that the appli- 
cation was preposterous. Mr. FitzPatrick writes that Lever con- 
sulted Lord Sussex Lennox and Lord Ranelagh, and both laughed 
at the idea of attending to such a demand. The publisher, alarmed 
at having an action brought against himself, found much difficulty 
in yielding to Lever's demand. At length the book issued from 
the press, and O'Malley, of the Connaught Circuit, was ever after 

1 u 

Life of Lever," by William J. FitzPatrick, Esq., J. p., p. 141. 



pleased with the character of the *' Irish Dragoon," and he thence- 
forward bore with an equanimity undisturbed the jokes of his 
brethren of the Connaught bar, upon the similarity or dissimilarity 
of his namesake and martial brother ! 

In the Spring Assizes of 1841 w^as tried in Gal way the case of 
Ttutledge v. Rutledge, which was remarkable chiefly for the number 
and eminence of counsel engaged ; Messrs. Daniel O'Connell, m.p., 
Edward Litton, q.c, m.p., Thomas Berry Cusack Smith, q.c, being 
engaged on the same side with no less than twelve of the barristers 
belonging to the Circuit. It is unnecessary for us to delay our 
readers further with this case, as the interest, if any, attaching to 
it belongs rather to the past than to the present. 

At the same assizes a case of no great interest to those who love 
sensational trials was tried in Galway at the Spring Assizes of the 
last-mentioned year (1841), James Henry Monahan, q.c, being the 
counsel for the plaintiff. We refrain from giving the name of the 
case, as the parties are still living, and the only reason for our 
alluding to it at all, is to show the barbarous state of the law of 
this land as regards the registration of deeds and wills. The 
action was an ejectment on the title for lands lying in the neigh- 
bourhood of Loughrea. From the Deeds Office in Henrietta Street, 
Dublin^ it appeared that there was then registered what lawyers 
call a memorial of a certain indenture, by which the limitations of 
the estate were settled, and that memorial fell short of relating 
what was well known to have been in the deed. So counsel had in 
his direction of proofs advised that the deeds should be produced, 
and if not produced, the plaintiff should fail in showing his title to 
the lands in question. The missing deed had been prepared by a 
solicitor of great eminence in his profession, and was by him kept 
in a box, on which was lettered the name of his client. The 
solicitor died, and his successor falling into debt, his furniture was 
seized and sold by his creditors; the papers, boxes, &c., were 
deposited in a house in Lower Gardiner Street. The plaintiff, a 
gentleman whose youth was spent in the West Indies, forgot, if he 
ever knew, all about the deed-box, and in whose custody it was. 
He had, indeed, a copy of the indenture ; but his counsel in his 
direction of proofs, as we have said, advised that the deed itself must 
be produced, the memorial being almost worthless. As the deed 


was missing, the defendant in possession could not be displaced 
until plaintiff proved his title. Advertisements for the lost deed- 
box were inserted in every Dublin paper, and at length, after great 
expense and delay, the box was found in a cellar where it had been 
stowed away for forty or fifty years. The case came on at the 
assizes, the deed entailing the estate was put in evidence, and 
counsel denounced the state of the law, which, whilst it insisted 
on a comparatively worthless memorial being registered, allowed 
the deed to run the risk of being lost ; far better are things 
managed in other countries, where, as in Spain, the entire deed 
must be registered ; nor can a copy either of a deed or a will be 
obtained in that country without an application to the Court for an 
order on sufficient cause shown to give such copy, at such charges 
as the judge may think fit, varying from a suitor suing in forma 
pauperis to one in affluent circumstances, thus protecting from 
idle curiosity the secrets of families. But we are verging on topics 
lately the subject of a barren commission. Suffice it to say that a 
verdict was had for the plaintiff", and that it was never disturbed, 
and if there were ground for disturbance, Mr. FitzGribbon, q.c, the 
learned counsel for the defendant, would not have been slow in 
disturbing it. 

Mr. Justice Keogh. 

Amongst the names of those admitted to the Connaught Bar 
Society in 1841, is that of William Keogh. All the others, nine 
in number, are gone and forgotten. Not so with him: his body is 
entombed in the sepulchre of mortality, but his name still lives, and 
is likely to live for years to come. He was the eldest son of a Ros- 
common gentleman, who resided in Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin, 
where the subject of our memoir was born in 1817. A graduate 
of Trinity College, he took classical honours in his undergraduate 
course ; but his fame in the University rested chiefly on his orato- 
rical displays in the College Historical Society. In 1840 he was 
called to the bar, and immediately applied himself with vigour to 
his profession. In 1841 he joined the Connaught Circuit, where his 
inexhaustible fund of information, fun, wit, and humour made him 
the centre of attraction. He soon rose into practice, and, while yet a 
very junior stuff-gown lawyer, conducted cases in which Mr. Brewster, 



Q.C., had been brought down *' special" to oppose hi:n ; and the 
Goliath of the bar was so taken with his great ability, that he formed 
a friendship with him that never ceased during his life. In 1843, 
Mr. Keogh originated a movement to publish reports of cases 
argued and decided on the six circuits, two barristers to be ap- 
pointed for each. The plan was well received, subscribers were 
many, and on the Connaught Circuit, Mr. John Henry Workman, 
a clever young barrister, and Mr. Keogh were the reporters. 
Associated with Mr. Barry, he published a volume of Equity 
Reports said to possess much merit. It is not unworthy of obser- 
vation that many of the judges on the Irish Bench, in the present 
century, had been reporters — Sir Joseph Napier, Chief Justice 
Lefroy, the late Master of the Rolls (Mr Smith, Q.c), Mr. Justice 
Hayes, Mr. Justice Lawson, Judge Flanagan, Judge Townsend, 
and Judge Warren.^ Unfortunately for the Circuit Reports, Mr. 
Justice Keogh was unable to remain long a reporter. His con- 
nexion, however, with these works, taken in conjunction with his 
varied information and kindliness of manner, obtained for him 
troops of friends. At one time counsel at a court-martial, at 
another time defending a Catholic clergyman's character in an 
action for slander, he proved himself equal to the task imposed 
upon him, being thoroughly conversant alike with military and 
ecclesiastical law. He became a great favourite at the military 
mess, and deploring that he could not in the bar-room return the 
compliment, he gave notice at the February meeting of 1846, 
" that he will move at the next meeting of the bar that officers of 
the army and navy on duty be invited to the bar-room and be at 
liberty to dine with the bar upon the invitation of any member, first 
having submitted the name to the father of the bar.^' " The feel- 
ing, however," as Mr. Keogh, wittily remarked, " of the mentals 
was against the regimentals," and the motion was never moved. 
Meanwhile the study of the law began to lose its charm for his 
too active mind. During his sojourn in London in the long vaca- 
tion of 1846, he became acquainted with a well-known wealthy Jew 
who was at the time a dominating individual in the financial world. 
The Hebrew millionaire was so forcibly impressed with his intellec- 

^ "History of Law Reporting in Ireland," III. "Irish Law Times," 
pp. 659-673. 

THE FAMINE OF 1847. ' 257 

tual power and ready wit, that he started him as candidate for the 
borough of Athlone, and backed him with lavish gold. Being an 
intimate friend of the Most Kev. George Browne, d.d.. Catholic 
Bishop of Elphin^ and of many of the priests, he was, in the month 
of August, 1847, returned ; and in the House of Commons he 
speedily took a prominent part, and was recognised as one of the 
ablest of debaters. Let it not, however, be supposed that he had 
abandoned the practice of his profession — quite the contrary ; he 
regularly travelled the Circuit, being engaged in every important 
case thereon. 

During the early period of the judicial life of Chief Justice 
(then Baron) Lefroy, the Circuit which fell most frequently to his 
lot was the Connaught, of which he thus writes : — "I have had a 
very heavy Circuit ; but I have now nearly finished it, and I have not 
met an unpleasant word or act on the whole of it. The cordiality 
of the Connaught bar makes any amount of work comparatively 
light." ^ In the Criminal Court in 1847 is revealed much of the 
horrors of that dreadful year of famine, Mr. Keogh being engaged 
in almost every case of magnitude for the Crown. The following 
charge of Baron Lefroy to the Grand Jury of the County of Galway 
tells of the sad state of the Province at the Spring Assizes of 
1849 :— 

" Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Grand Jury, I deeply 
lament to be obliged to bring before you the appalling state of 
things which the calendar tliat has been laid before me presents as 
existing in your jail. It appears that the number of prisoners is 
no less than 764, while the building is only calculated to accommo- 
date 110. As, however, I shall have to call your attention to this 
subject at another period of the Assizes, I will not now dwell further 
upon it. The number of prisoners for trial is 423 ; and from the 
analysis that has been made of the Calendar, the cases appear to be 
297 in number, of which you will have to dispose. Of this number 
there are fifteen persons committed on charges of murder or man- 
slaughter; but I understand there are only three of the cases bearing 
the character of murder, and they are not of recent occurrence. 
There are 24 cases of burglary and robbery. The cases of sheep- 

1 Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy, by his son Thomas Lefroy, Esq , Q,c., 
p. 235. 




stealing amount to 115; the cases of cow-steaiing to 57; and 
besides these there are 86 cases of larceny. The number of sheep- 
and cattle-stealing cases is quite alarming. The}^ might be ac- 
counted for when want and famine, from the sudden failure of the 
potato crop, overwhelmed the people ; but now that so many efforts 
are being made to supply the wants of the poor, this wholesale 
system of plunder cannot be endured. It is the duty of those to 
whom the administration of the law is entrusted to see that it be 
made effectual for the end and purpose of justice, bj' imposing 
punishment on the guilty, and deterring others from the commis- 
sion of similar offences." ^ 

Mr. Keogh won the entire approbation on this Circuit of the 
learned baron and of his brother judge, Mr. Justice Moore, both of 
whom wrote to the then Chancellor (Sir Maziere Brady) in the 
strongest terms, recommending him for a silk gown. The recom- 
mendation was not unattended to, and on Mr. Keogh's return to 
the Four Courts, he was informed by the Lord Chancellor that 
" Her Majesty had been graciously pleased to appoint him one of 
her counsel learned in the law in Ireland ; " and he took his seat 
within the bar accordingly. Mr. Keogh's subsequent career borders 
on the marvellous. Associated with the defenders of the faith, he 
was received by the Catholic clergy, and by them recognised as a 
leader against the onslaught made by the Prime Minister on the 
Catholic hierarchy restored by the brief of Pius IX. in England. On 
the platform the learned gentleman was merciless in his denuncia- 
tion of Lord John Russell, who had the effrontery, in his celebrated 
letter of the 5th of November, 1850, to the Bishop of Durham, to 
stigmatize the ceremonies of the Catholic religion as " the mum- 
meries of superstition." The bitter opponent of the " Ecclesiastical 
Titles Bill/' he was put in nomination again for Athlone at the 
General Election of 1852.' 

A monster meeting was held in that town on the 26th of June 
in that year, in favour of ''Civil and Religious Liberty, and of Tenant- 
right," at which Archdeacon O'Reily thus spoke — " I would now 

^ Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy, p. 249. 

* " The Weekly Telegraph" newspaper, 28th June, 1852. 


remind you that you should not let your exertions rest this day, 
but aid the other Irish members who have joined with Mr. Keogh in 
resisting the enemies of our creed and our country. (Loud cheers 
and waving of hats for William Keogh)." He was returned, though 
not without a struggle. Unfortunately, in the excitement of the 
moment, he made some indiscreet after-dinner speeches, which 
were treasured up against him by his enemies ; and after he had 
accepted office, no opportunity was lost in flinging in his face 
words which would never have been uttered in calmer moments, 
and which probably, in the moment of utterance, were not intended 
to bear the extreme meaning which was put upon them. It was in 
the previous month of February, and within a few months after 
the " Ecclesiastical Titles Bill " had become law, that Lord John 
Russell was constrained to resign, and was replaced by the ten 
month ministry of the Earl of Derby, with the Right Hon. Francis 
Blackburne, Chancellor, and Mr. Whiteside, Attorney-General for 
Ireland. On the 28th December, in the same year, a coalition 
ministry was formed, the Prime Minister being the Earl of 
Aberdeen, with Mr. Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. 
Brewster, q.c, Attorney-General, and Mr. Keogh, q.c, m.p., Solicitor- 
General for Ireland. On the 10th of February, 1855, Lord 
Palmerston came into office, several of the ministers retaining 
their places in the reconstructed cabinet. As in England, Lord 
Cranworth served Her Majesty as Chancellor under the Earl of 
Aberdeen and Lord Palmerston, so in Ireland, Sir Maziere Brady 
retained the seals under both leaders ; Mr. Brewster, however, 
declining to hold office, retired, and Mr. Keogh became Attorney- 
General for Ireland, and while in that office aided in causing to 
be brought into Parliament and passed a measure which empowered 
owners of limited estates, tenants for life, to make leases of lands 
in Ireland, for Roman Catholic chapels/ and for manses or glebes 
for the Catholic clergy. 

The death of Mr. Justice Torrens in 1856 caused a vacancy in 
the Court of Common Pleas, to which Mr. Keogh was appointed. 
Of his judicial career we need hardly speak. It is admitted on all 
hands that he was a good Common Law judge. He presided at 
several important trials ; but it is the more recent part of his official 

y 18 & 19 Vict., chap. 39, a..d. 1855. 



career that will long secure him a place in the gallery of Irish 
notahilities. His uncompromising attitude in connexion with the 
Fenian rising, the vehemence with which he denounced disaffec- 
tion and the vigour with which he punished treason, rendered him 
the special ohject of odium to the extreme Irish party. But his 
culminating performance was the memorahle Galway judgment in 
1872. No utterance in our generation produced such a sensation 
as this. It angered one section of the people to burning hostility ; 
it excited another to enthusiastic admiration. Few judges have 
been more constantly attacked, and it is stated that to the attacks 
which followed that celebrated judgment the subsequent unhinging 
of his mind is to be traced. The last time that I saw him was on 
board the Holyhead steamer, on his way to Brussels ; it was in 
the autumn of 1878. He was pale, emaciated, embarrassed in 
manner, and indifferent to all that was passing around him ; speak 
to him, bring before him the glowing and impassioned images of 
the past, he gazes listlessly and mechanically at you, makes no 
sign, and dropping his head, buries it in his bosom, and sinks into 
a moody and melancholy abstraction. And this was the Eight Hon. 
William Keogh, whose oratory had charmed the Universitj^ the 
Senate, and the Bar, the magic of whose eloquence held multitudes 
in a state of breathless admiration. On the 30th September, 1878, 
he died a melancholy death at Bingen in Germany, receiving before 
he died the last sacraments of the Catholic Church. In private 
life he was esteemed for his warm and generous kindness. He had 
many social virtues, and was greatly beloved by a circle of attached 
and admiring friends. An admirer of Milton, he delivered, in 
1867, a lecture on the prose works of that Puritanical writer, on 
which subject we are not in a position to offer an opinion. 


The year 1842 was one of mourning for the Connaught Circuit. 
The " Legal Reporter," in its obituary, announces the death, on the 
1st of January, of John Beatty West, q.c, who had since 1816 
been a member of the western bar, and whose advocacy was of 
the highest order. At the General Election, held in the autumn 
of 1841, Messrs. West and Grogan stood for the city of Dublin 
against Messrs. O'Connell and Hutton. Mr. West having at the 


hustings called on the electors to vote for him, Mr. O'Connell 
commenced his speech by telling the voters that he did not mean 
to ask a single vote from a single voter. No ! such were not his 
tactics ; but what he meant to do was to call on the ladies of the 
city of Dublin, and he had no doubt their persuasive powers would 
win their husbands round to his side ; and if that were done, he 
would carry his election — ^for vote for him the infatuated husbands 
of the infatuated ladies should do. " Now, ladies " (to the artizans' 
wives), " I throw myself on you" (sensation), and taking oif his hat, 
" whether will you support me or that fellow. West ? " " Why," 
said Mr. West, " would you vote for that giant with a wig ? " 
" Avaunt, quit my sight," exclaimed O'Connell, tearing off his 
wig and flinging it into the air, and presenting rather the appear- 
ance of a reverend and shaven monk of St. Omer's than of an 
accomplished lawyer. This comedy or farce, however, did not 
carry the day : the ladies were unable or unwilling to place Mr. 
O'Connell at the head of the poll. Mr. West won the seat ; alas, 
he never took that seat. The excitement of the election was too 
much for his strength, and within four months his end was a 
melancholy illustration of the maxim, " What shadows we are, and 
what shadows we pursue ! " The learned counsel whose death we 
have told was married to a daughter of Mr. Justice Burton, an 
Englishman, who had purchased a considerable portion of the 
Eyrecourt estate in the County of Galway, and had settled it on 
Mr. West, and which was afterwards sold to Mr. Allen Pollock, in 
the Landed Estates Court. His residence was at Mount Anneville, 
afterwards sold to William Dargan, and by him to the nuns of the 
" Sacre Coeur." His town-house was 80 Stephen's Green, now the 
residence of Mr. E. C. Guinness. 

The announcement of the death of James Henry Blake, q.c.,^ in 
August, 1842, was indeed a sad one. Gifted with talents of the 
highest order, he possessed at the same time a most amiable dispo- 
sition and the most engaging manners. He belonged to a respect- 
able family, whose ability was remarkable — an ability which he 
inherited it all its fulness. He died suddenly in London on the 
morning of the 4th of August, 1842, as he was on his way to the 

1 i( 

Legal Reporter," Saturday, 7th August, 1842. 


Continent. Had he lived, he must have risen to the highest 
eminence at his profession. It was not my good fortune to have 
ever seen him ; hut I have known several who knew him well, and 
who, after forty years, speak of him as the brightest ornament of 
the Circuit and of the bar. Needless to say, that the regret was 
general for the early death of one so gifted. Patrick J. Blake, 
Esq., Q.c, who now enjoys his otiam cum dignltate, long a 
member of the Connaught Bar Society, and Chairman of the 
County of Fermanagh, was his brother, both cousins of the 
Right Honourable Michael Morris, C.J. 

Let us now pass on to 1845. There was tried in that year, and 
in the town of Galway, the amusing case of Kelly v. Young, before 
Mr. Justice Ball and a special jury. The plaintiff, Mr. Michael 
Kelly, claimed a racing cup and stakes, which Mr. Young, the 
defendant, refused to give up, on the ground that one of the con- 
ditions of the race was that the horses should be ridden by gentle- 
men riders, and that the stewards had awarded the prizes to Mr. 
Young, a lieutenant in a regiment quartered at Athlone, who came 
in second, in preference to Mr. Kelly, the rider of the foremost 

Messrs. James Henry Monahan, q.c, and William Keogh were 
counsel for the plaintiff, whilst for the defendant appeared Gerald 
FitzGibbon, q.c, and Henry Concannon. 

The plaintiff having proved that he rode the winning horse, his 
counsel submitted that he was a gentleman within the meaning of 
the word, as defined by Blackstone in his commentaries on the laws 
of England,^ which was, that any man who could ''live idly and 
without manual labour, and will bear the port, charge, and 
countenance of a gentleman, shall be called ' master,^ and accounted 
for a gentleman,'^ and, according to Coke Littleton, "gentlemen be 
right cheap in this country." 

Mr. FitzGibbon, q.c, for the defendant, laboured to break down 
Mr. Kelly's right to become a competitor in such a contest. For 
this purpose witnesses were examined to prove that the Marchioness 
of Clanricarde did not visit at Mr. Kelly's, though within a morn- 
ing call, and therefore Mr. Kelly could not, with a scintilla of 

1. "Black. Cam.," p. 106. 


propriety, weigh himself in the same scale with a Lieutenant of Her 
Majesty's 47th Kegiment of Foot. On the other hand, it was 
submitted by counsel for the plaintiff that if the decision were, 
that none should be reputed gentlemen whose wives had not been 
visited by the Marchioness of Clanricarde, such an alarming deci- 
sion would amount in fact to a disgentlemanizing of two or three 

Of the notions which prevailed forty years ago on the question 
of gentility, a curious instance was elicited on this trial. A wit- 
ness for the defendant, a Mr. James J. Skerrett, of Carnacrow, 
having declared upon his oath that he did not consider Mr. Kelly 
a gentleman, was on his cross-examination asked by Mr. Monahan, 
Q.C., to define the meaning of the word " gentleman." 

Witness. — "A 'gentleman' is a person whose father was a 
gentleman, and none other ! " 

Mr. Monahan, Q.C.—'' So that if Mr. Kelly's father was a 
peasant, Mr. Kelly would be a peasant still, no matter what 
amount of w-ealth or education be possessed ? '' ** Precisely so." 

Mr. Monahan, Q.C— "Is a barber a gentleman?" ''Most 
certainly not." 

Mr. Monahan, Q.C. — " Did you ever hear of Sir Edward 
Sugden, the present Lord High Chancellor of L-eland?'' "Ob, 
yes; frequently. I was a ward — a minor — in his Court. His 
father, Tm told, was a barber." 

Mr. Monahan, Q.C. — " His father was a barber. Is the Lord 
Chancellor a gentleman ? '' 

Witness (with emphasis). — " Most certainly not." 
Mr. Monahan, Q.C. — "Oh, Mr. Skerrett, you may go down.'^ 
(Loud laughter.) 

His lordship did not "think that the witness should be thus 
laughed out of Court. His best answer might be conveyed in 
another language — si non rogas intelUgo. Keally this is a question 
for a lawyer to answer, and a puzzling question too. As far as he 
could remember, the word ' gentleman ' is derived from the 
Norman-French — gentil-homnie.'' 

Mr. FitzGihhon, Q.C. — " Precisely so, my lord; but that does 
not aid us in discovering the original meaning of the word, which 
he apprehended was derived from the Latin of the early days of the 


Koman Republic ; and if they traced its meaning in tins way, they 
would find that the witness was not so far astray in saying that a 
gentleman was one whose father was a gentleman. In the early 
Roman Constitution, the free communities were divided into tribes, 
which tribes were called gentes, and the free families of the free 
communities were called gentiles, according to Cicero;^ and any 
single member of those families was called gentilis liomo, and 
gentilis homo, a gentile man, must trace back to gentile, that is 
gentle, ancestors. The tribal city they were then in afforded an 
example of this ; for when voting for the election of a warden, the 
voter must prove that his father was of the gens, the race, and so 
entitled to vote. 

" Mr. Justice Ball would not embarrass the jury by going back 
to Cicero. The question he would leave to them was — Was Mr. 
Kelly, who rode the foremost horse, a gentleman ? If they found 
that he was, there would be no difficulty in their finding that he 
was entitled to the prizes he claimed. If they found the other 
way, then of course he should not have the prizes. By the articles 
of the race it was clearly meant to prevent jockeys, professional 
riders, or people in an humble sphere of life, from riding the 

The verdict was for the plaintifi*, and it was refreshing to see 
with what a jaunty air he left the Court, as indeed it was but 
natural that he should, seeing that he might thenceforth, quatuor 
pedihus, ride pari passu with an officer in Her Majesty's 47th 
Regiment of Foot, and seeing also that he left with his silver 
cup, his stakes, and his costs, which were to be paid by the losing 
party, who had lost the cup, the stakes, and the costs together. 

The famine of 1847 revolutionized the condition of Ireland. 
The people of Ireland had lived chiefly on the potato, a root abun- 
dant in its produce and cheap in its production. If cheapness of 
food be an important element in prosperity, then the Irish people 
ought to have been prosperous, for they produced cheap food in the 
potato. But that cheapness, which would have been a blessing to a 
people at a fair standard of comfort, proved simply a ruin to a people 
who asked for little more than a roof and a dry potato ! And with 

1 Cicero Top., 6. 


the roof and a dry potato tliey married and were given in marriage ; 
they increased and multiplied ; they relied on the root of plenty ; 
they had no other resource to fall back upon ; it vanished, and they 
were destroyed. How is it that in a night a blight blasted the po- 
tato ? The wise men of the world have been asked to answer, but 
they have been as powerless as the soothsayers of Babylon ; and 
the historian of that time can do no more than record the awful 
fact that such a famine swept over Ireland as has seldom been ex- 
ceeded in the world's history ! With the famine came the ruin 
alike of the landlords and of the tenants. Hundreds of thousands 
of the miserable peasantry died of starvation. Funeral processions 
then ceased for years, and the uncoffined dead were flung, without 
religious ceremony, in heaps into common graves, from which they 
were scraped by the hungry dogs, that prowled through the church- 
yards, feasting on the dead, gorging, and growling o'er carcass and 

" Alas, poor country. 
Almost afraid to know itself ! Tt cannot 
Be call'd our mother, but our grave, where nothing, 
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile ; 
Where sighs, and groans, and slirieks that rent the air. 
Are made, not mark'd ; where violent sorrow seems 
A modern ecstacy ; the dead man's knell 
Is there scarce ask'd for who." 

The nations stood aghast at the tale of Irish woe ; the whole 
civilized world rushed to the rescue. Subscriptions poured in 
from foreign and home Societies, and the mite of the widow 
came side by side with the rich gift of the wealthy from near 
and from far, to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, 
to clothe the naked, to harbour the harbourless ! Foremost . at 
that work of mercy was Her Majesty the Queen, who felt as a 
woman for the women of Ireland. Her example was followed by 
many of the European sovereigns. The Pope contributed largely 
to the good work, and even the Sultan of Turkey sent a princely 
oifering. But it is for others to tell the story of that famine, of the 
efforts to alleviate it, and of the social and political consequences 
which ensued from it ; for us it only remains to say of the bar, 
that whilst each one in his private capacity, exerted himself to 
the utmost in the work of charity, so did they in their corporate 

266 DISTRESS OF 1797. 

capacity contribute for the same end. Thus we find in the morn- 
ing papers of the 23rd January^ 1847, the following paragraph : — 

" There being very great distress and famine in the West of Ire- 
land, Mr. George French (father of the Connaught bar) directed the 
secretary to call a special meeting of the Society, for the purpose of 
considering the propriety of not dining together after this term, 
and of applying the usual dinner subscriptions towards the relief of 
the poor. 

" The meeting accordingly took place in one of the arbitration 
rooms of the Four Courts, on Saturday, the 23rd of January, at 
which a large number of the Society were present, when it was re- 
solved, on the motion of Mr. Charles Blakeney, that the bar shall 
not dine together this term, and that the usual dinner subscriptions 
should be applied towards the relief of the poor, and allocated in 
equal parts to the towns on the Circuit. 

'* Charles Kelly (Secretary)." 

Again, on the 31st of May, 1847, a special meeting of the So- 
ciety was called, when it was " unanimously resolved that the usual 
dinner subscriptions should be applied to the relief of the poor ; " 
and at the meeting of the Society held in January, 1848, it was di- 
rected that " the dinner subscriptions be appropriated to the benefit 
of the poor widow and daughter of Mulville, who had been for many 
years a waiter of the bar, and inquiries were ordered to be made as 
to the best mode of application.^' The inquiries were made, and a 
handsome sum was given by the bar to the widow of their old ser- 
vant, together with a marriage portion to his child. 

This is not a novel feature in the history of the Connaught Bar 
Society. From the records of the Circuit ^ it appears that in 1797, 
when we had our own Parliament, the distress was great in the city 
of Dublin, and that the Connaught Bar Society was not slow in 
subscribing to relieve the wants of the poor. 

*' Friday, 30th May, 1797, being the day after the conclusion of 
the Easter Term, the following requisition was handed to Mr. 
Hillas, the secretary : — ' We, the undersigned members of the 
Connaught bar, request you will bespeak dinner for as few as 

1 " Connaught Bar Book," p. 21. 


possible, and that you will apply the overplus to the relief of the 
distressed manufacturers of the city.* That requisition was signed 
by all the members of the Connaught bar in Dublin. 

^' Dinner only ordered for four members ; no person dined : the 
collection applied to the relief of the sick manufacturers, amounting 
to the sum of jB12 10s. 3d.'.' 

To the wants of those who have grown old in their service the 
Connaught Bar Society have always looked ; and in the years of 
famine especial care was extended to them on the principle that 
" charity begins at home." When the whole country was plunged 
in ruin, they were liberally paid for their services, and allowances 
were made to their widows and orphans. The bar waiters appear 
to have been fixtures on the Circuit, and many of tliem geniuses in 
their way. Poor Moran, to whom Mr. Justice Keogh gave the 
more elegantly sounding name, ** Signor Morani," was without 
doubt a fossilized-looking individual as he appeared assizes after 
assizes in the bar room. His dress was a blue swallow-tail coat, 
with gilt buttons, velvet collar, deep white cravat, black trousers, or 
rather small-clothes, that came to within two inches of his shoes, dis- 
closing a pair of snow-white stockings, exquisitely darned in the 
heels ; and, to crown him, his tall and conical, well-brnshed beaver 
hat had the appearance of an heirloom which had descended to him 
through many generations of " articulately speaking " head waiters. 
He knew '' the ins and the outs of every family on the Circuit.'^ For 
the ancient gentry of the country, especially if they were connected 
with the nobility, he had the profoundest respect ; and whenever 
a member of an old Catholic family happened to be a practising 
barrister on the Circuit, to him his attentions were alike obsequious 
and painful. " Morani," said a barrister, whose pedigree did not 
inspire him with respect, " a glass of champagne." '' Wait a while, 
sir; I'm helpin' the gintlemen first," was his saucy reply. 

The Signor could not bear to see one of the oidd stock too 
great a tea-drinker. '^ Moran, let me have some more tea; 
that is capital tea." " I will not, sir, bring you up any more 
tay. I brought you one tay-pot, and think one tay-pot full o' tay, 
afther dinner, is plenty enough for any gintleman's honour ! " 
Speaking of the Connaught bar waiters, shocked was I to see a 
paragraph in the Dublin papers^ stating that the "wife of the 
' "Dublin Evening Mail," 30th June, 1884. 


waiter and rober to the Connauglit Bar Society on Circuit was 
arrested for begging in the streets of London in the summer of 
1884. Her husband, it appears, had been a member of ' The In- 
vincibles/ and she having threatened to inform against him unless 
he gave up his connection with them, he deserted her, fled to 
America, and left her behind him penniless in that city. She had 
seen the murderous knives at Carey's house in Denzille Street, 
Dublin ; and his position in relation to the Connauglit Bar Society 
sheltered him long from suspicion." 

A.D. 1847. — In this year disappears from the roll of the Con- 
naught bar the name of Mr. Redmond Peter O'Carroll, whose story 
is of interest sufficient to warrant Sir Bernard Burke in giving it a 
place in his " Vicissitudes of Families." When complaining of the 
great insecurity in the preservation and production of wills, prior to 
their reaching their official custody, he says that under the present 
system the only chance, in many instances, of their appearance in 
due course, is the honesty of those who keep or who find them ; and 
he illustrates this position with a story, the facts of which are within 
his knowledge and ours. Peter Warren Locke, of Athgoe Park, in 
the County of Dublin, Esquire, claimed descent from a family of 
remote antiquity. He had two sisters, Mrs. John Deane Skerrett, 
of Ballinduif, in the County of Galway, and Mrs. John O'Carroll, 
of Ardagh, both of whom were widows at the time of his death in 
1832. Mr. Locke had been twice married, first to Miss Kennedy, 
aunt of Sir John Kennedy, Bart., and secondly to Margaret, sister of 
the Right Honourable Sir Thomas Esmonde, Bart. ; but by neither 
of those ladies had he issue. Previously, however, he had had two 
illegitimate children— a son and daughter — to each of whom he 
gave a good education. At the time of Mr. Locke's decease the 
son was dead, but the daughter was living ; and as no will had been 
discovered, administration was granted by the Court of Prerogative, 
as in a case of intestacy, to Mr. Locke's sisters and co-heiresses. 
Thereupon Athgoe Park, which was under settlement, devolved on 
the eldest of those ladies, Mrs. Skerrett, and the estate of Castle- 
knock and Blancherstown, worth £4,000 a-year, besides other 
property, was divided between her and her sister, Mrs. O'Carroll. 
Mrs. O'Carroll had several children : Redmond Peter O'Carroll, 
Frederick Francis O'Carroll, and a daughter married to Carroll 


Patrick Naish, Esq., of Ballycullen, Co. Limerick. The eldest 
son, Eedmoiid Peter O'Carroll, after passing through a distin- 
guished course at the Jesuits' College at Stoneyhurst, became a 
barrister, and was agent to the estate. He married Miss Mary 
Goold, niece of Sir George Goold, Bart. Frederick Francis was 
father of Frederick John O'Carroll, Esq., now a member of the bar. 
Mrs. Skerrett, and her sister Mrs. O'Carroll, entered on the full 
enjoyment of the property, kept adequate establishments, and 
as the co-heiresses of the Lockes of Athgoe, took their position 
in society. Meanwhile Miss Locke, the natural daughter of Mr. 
Locke, was invited to Athgoe Park, and, out of regard for their de- 
ceased brother, a settlement was made by the sisters upon her. 
Matters thus went on until it became necessary to find a lease that 
had been made to one of the tenants, for the purpose of bringing 
an ejectment against him for non-payment of rent. A bundle of 
leases was found in an old chest at Athgoe by Mr. Redmond Peter 
O'Carroll. On examining it, a paper casually fell from the bundle. 
He took it up, and was about to commit it to the flames as worth- 
less, when, to his inexpressible astonishment, he found that it was 
his uncle, Mr. Locke's, will, made some years previously, during 
the life of his natural son. To that son he had devised all his 
estates, with remainder to his natural daughter, Miss Locke. On 
the next day Mr. O'Carroll laid the will before eminent counsel, 
who advised that the testator had power to make the will, and that 
under it Miss Locke was entitled to the estates. Returning to 
Athgoe, he desired to see Miss Locke, told her all that had hap- 
pened, and handed over to her safe custody the important docu- 
ment which deprived him of the succession to a considerable 
property. Next morning Miss Locke placed the matter in the hands 
of her solicitor. The agency— oh ! the ingratitude ! — was taken 
from Mr. O'Carroll, and possession of the unsettled property was 
obtained by the voluntary resignation of Mrs. Skerrett and Mrs. 
O'Carroll. Mrs. Skerrett did not suffer as much as her sister, for 
the Athgoe Park estate was not affected by the will, being, as we 
have said, in settlement ; but Mrs. O'Carroll, the mother of Red- 
mond, lost her entire means of support. In the same year he was 
appointed Law Adviser to the Commissioners of National Educa- 
tion, at an annual salary of £100. This vicissitude of fortune told 


on the health of Mr. O^Carroll. He spoke not indeed of his dis- 
appointment, keeping his feelings in his own breast, but, with^ 
nnstained honour, he died in 1847, perhaps of a broken heart. 

His widow, a baronet^s niece, became matron of Grangegorman5 
Prison, Dublin. She has lived to see her two sons in the Church — , 
the eldest, the Rev. John O'Carroll, a member of the illustrious^ 
order of the Jesuits, and the other, the Rev. Francis Augustus 
O'Carroll, who had been called to the bar, now a priest of the 
Oratory of South Kensington. And she has further the gratification 
of seeing her husband's sister, Anne Margaret, wife of Carroll P. 
Naish, the mother of a numerous family, the eldest of whom is the 
Right Honourable John Naish, now Lord High Chancellor of 

The best index to the disorganized state of society in the 
dismal period of the famine is the criminal calendar. Previous 
to the famine, the average number of criminals all round the 
Circuit was 250, divided thus— Galway, 68; Mayo, 6Q; Sligo, 33 ; 
Leitrim, 33 ; Roscommon, 50. Now, however (we speak of the 
Spring Assizes for 1847), there were 1,850 prisoners awaiting 
trial, of whom 650 w^ere lodged in the County of Galway gaol, 
700 were crowded into the gaol of Castlebar, while 500 were 
distributed amongst the remaining three counties. A still greater 
number awaited their trials at the Summer Assizes of the same 
year. The year 1848 was a shade better, and 1849 was better 
still ; and it is much to the credit of the western province that 
the political troubles which, in other parts of Ireland, followed 
the French Revolution of 1848, culminating in the battle of Bal- 
lingarr}^ were here unfelt. 

Although the judges, in their addresses to the several Grand 
Juries, deplored the amount of crime that stalked abroad in those 
years, filling the gaols with numbers for whom there could be 
no proper accommodation, yet the crimes were for the most part 
confined to that class which writers on natural law, under the 
circumstances, might justify; such as the stealing by the hungry 
of flour from the mill, of bread from the baker, meat from the 
butcher, fish from the fishmonger, and sheep and cattle from 
the farmer. The Crown counsels' fees at the Spring Assizes of 
1848 amounted to thousands of pounds, whilst the dock lawyers 


were left almost unemployed; for the prisoners felt that im- 
prisonment was preferable to the horrors of starvation, and for- 
tunate was he whose sentence was transportation to happier 
climes ! 

Although such crimes as those we have spoken of were the 
prevailing ones, yet, as in times past, murders were still com- 
mitted, and landlords were still shot down with a merciless 

In 1847 took place, at Carrick-on-Shannon, the trial of two 
persons charged with the wilful murder of the Rev. Thomas 
Maguire, one of the most popular and extraordinary men of his 

Poor Father Tom'! His were the best horses and the best 
hounds, the best dogs and the best guns. In the hunting field, 
in the pulpit, and at the altar, he held the foremost place, nor 
did he think that a ride across the country was incompatible 
with his sacred duties. He rode, and rode well ; he preached, 
and preached well. His ordinary sermons were for the most 
part extempore ; but his Lenten discourses, which were generally 
of a controversial nature, and prepared with much care, were 
usually delivered in one of the metropolitan churches. A man 
of boundless information, he conducted in 1827 a controversj-, 
which lasted for six days, with the Rev. Thomas Pope, one of 
the ablest Protestant divines of the day. Of the result produced 
by such a display of learning, we are unable to speak. Mr. 
O'Connell and Admiral Oliver presided at this trial of polemical 
skill, upon which the verdict of the world has not yet been, 
and never will be, given. Although Father Tom Maguire was 
the stern and uncompromising advocate of the Church of Rome, 
he was still popular amongst the Protestant gentry of the County 
of Leitrim. When shall we see his like again ? ' The poor Padre ! 
The world was startled one morning by an announcement in the 
Dublin papers — " Murder of the Rev. Thomas Maguire, p.p." 
At the Summer Assizes of 1817, his housekeeper and her hus- 
band were indicted for his murder. The case for the Crown was 
that he had been poisoned by arsenic, administered to him in a 
dose which he supposed was medicine. Mr. Henry Concannon, 
of our Circuit, appeared for the defence, and contended that 


the poison was accidentally given by the prisoners, who knew 
nothing of what the supposed medicine contained. The jury 
adopted this view, and they were acquitted. 

Mr. Concannon then rose into extensive practice ; as a cross- 
examiner he was skilful, and could turn every gesture of the 
witness to his own advantage. Shortly before his death he 
defended an ex-policeman, charged with Fenianism, and with 
endeavouring to seduce two soldiers of the 5th Dragoon Guards 
from their allegiance. The trial was at Castlebar, and one of 
the troopers distinctly swore that " they had been a-drinking in a 
public-house in the town, on the night of the alleged conversa- 
tion. The prisoner came over and shook hands with us, and 
ordered a glass of spirits for each. He 'then stood up, and 
said that he was going to give a sentiment, and he shouted out, 
* To hell with the Queen ; ' and instantly we threw down our 
glasses and walked out.'' 

Mr. Concannon (for the prisoner) — ^' Did you, as became 
a soldier, walk out the moment he said, ' To hell with the 
Queen'?" "Yes, we flung down our glasses, and walked out." 
" And, as an Englishman, and a soldier, you would not listen 
to him saying another word ? " " No, we would not listen to one 
word after such a sentiment." Mr. Concannon then addressed 
the jury for the prisoner : the soldiers he extolled for their 
loyalty, and he asked the jury to believe that what the prisoner, 
who had himself been a policeman, was about to say was, " To 
hell with the Queen's enemies," but that " the soldiers would 
not hear him after such a sentiment;" and the jmy, or at 
least some of them, taking this view, refused to find him guilty. 
There was a disagreement, and the fellow thus escaped through 
the ingenuity of his counsel. 

Following the famine years came the cholera of 1849. These 
visitations remind one of the famine and plague that desolated 
this country five hundred years before— a desolation which Friar 
Clynn thus describes in his Annals: — " I have now brought the 
Annals of Ireland down to this year (a.d. 1348). I have com- 
pleted them, and digested them, for other generations to read, if, 
indeed, another generation shall succeed to this; for it aj^pears 


A PICNIC. 273 

to me as if the whole race of Adam is about to be swept 
away." ^ 

The Summer Assizes for 1850 betokened the return of happier 
times, and the number of criminals in some of the counties fell 
below what it had been in 1845. In the Kecord Court of Sligo 
it was believed that trials of interest would take place, sufficient 
to occupy the judges for several days ; but these trials never 
came on, as two of the records were withdrawn, and three were 
settled, and one, owing to the absence of a material witness, 
was postponed until the next assizes. A week, exclusive of 
travelling days, had been allowed for the County of Sligo. And 
the bar looked with dismay on a fruitless week spent in an 
assizes town where there were few prisoners to prosecute, and 
few to defend. The question, therefore, for all was how to spend 
the long week in Sligo. A haj^py device was, therefore, hit 
upon. It was agreed that a picnic, ending with a dance, would 
be just the thing. A committee was appointed, cards were 
sent out, and a lovely spot on the shores of Lough Gill was 
selected. The day came, the rising sun promised a sultry day, 
but the wind was freshening on the lake towards noon, and 
multitudes of boats, with flags flying, got under weigh at two, 
each boat with a precious cargo of human beings on board ; while 
carriages and horses rattled along the roads bringing the more 
timid to the place of rendezvous. At other picnics, people 
oftentimes assemble to say nothing, and look as sombre as if 
they had come to assist at the opening of their entertainer's 
will ; but here, w^here there were men of learning, eloquence, 
and wit, everybody seemed ready for enjoyment. Some saun- 
tered through the arbutus groves, others, admiring the lake and 
its wooded islands, and mountains rising from its shores, wan- 
dered amidst solitudes where the grass grew with all its native 
luxuriance, and the heath flourished without artificial assistance. 
At four o'clock the sound of a bell reminded the wanderers 
that it was time to return, and at half-past four lunch was an- 
nounced ; the father of the bar offered his arm to one of the 
ladies, the other gentlemen did the same, and they all streamed 

^ '^Clynn's Annals.' 




into the dining-room. The tables were prettily arranged witl 
flowers, with the bar plate, and with a forest of glasses ; then 
began a series of transactions of which our informant (for we 
merely give secondary evidence of the affair, it having taken place 
many years before we joined the Circuit) has no distinct recol- 
lection. We gather, however, that the luncheon was excellent, 
though we have been unable to learn the bill of fare. At half- 
past seven they adjourned to the ball-room, which w^as large and 
well lighted. Plenty of pretty faces adorned it ; the floor was 
smooth, and the music had a festive accent so extremely inspirit- 
ing, that in a moment the dancers were whirling through the 
mazes of the galop. Quadrilles, waltzes, and polkas, then in 
fashion, followed in quick succession. At eleven supper was an- 
nounced, when one of Her Majesty's counsel said it was twenty- 
two o'clock ; and it was whispered, that he had reached that 
point of enlargement of mind, and that development of visual 
organs, which is expressed by the term '' seeing double ! " He 
has since pretended that he was only reckoning the time in 
the Venetian manner ! At midnight the party broke up ; but as 
the wind was high upon the lake, the sails were furled, the oars 
put in requisition, and they returned to town by the light of the 

Several trials of interest occurred on the Circuit during those 
latter years, but for obvious reasons we refrain from laying them 
before our readers. We may mention, however, the cross-exami- 
nation of a Scripture-reader by Mr. Walter Bourke, q.c. 

"You are a Scripture-reader, you just told my learned friend ?" 
The man replied that he was, and that he knew the Bible well. 

Mr. Bourke then asked him to tell the names of the twelve 

The witness, never contemplating such a line of cross-exami- 
nation, appealed to the judge, who informed him that he must 
answer the question, and he commenced — " There was Simon 
Peter, and Paul his brother, and James and John, the two sons 
of Zebedee, and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John ; " and here 
the fellow, amid much laughter, said his memory did not serve 
him any farther. His knowledge of the names of the twelve 
tribes of Israel was of the same limited nature, and of course 



Mr. Bourke, whilst denouncing him in unmeasured language, 
said that the charity of the Roman Church made ample provi- 
sion for him, inasmuch as he belonged to that class comprised 
in the term " invincibly ignorant/^ 

Of a like amusing nature was his cross-examination of a 
French avocat, in a well-known icill case, in the course of which 
he took occasion to ask if he believed in the account given in 
the Book of Genesis of the creation of the world, and of man, 
and of death before the Fall, &c. The judge in vain sought 
to restrain him ; but counsel, insisting on his right, the avocat 
replied that he did not ; and he was then led on to tell his 
belief in the doctrine of progressive development, as laid down 
in M. de la Marque's theory. Counsel asked him to tell, in 
a few words, what that theory meant. The avocat then gave 
it as his belief that matter was eternal ; that animal life had 
no existence for countless millions of years ; that its first traces 
are to be found in the very lowest strata next above the granite 
rock, of which the flooring of the world is made ; that those 
animals were molluscous creatures —worms, shell-fish, bivalves, 
and multivalves, such as oysters and lobsters — and that these, 
after other millions of millions of years, became developed into 
the spinal or vertebrated animals, such as quadrupeds, horses, 
asseSi &c. ; that they, too, became developed in long time into 
the quadrumana, such as monkeys, apes, &c., which in turn 
became further developed into man ! 

" And, Monsieur, am I to understand," said Mr. Bourke, 
**that your great ancestor was an ass, and your more imme- 
diate ancestor an aj)e ? " 

Loud laughter followed the question, in which the avocat 
heartily joined. 

The Crown was represented on the Circuit during, and for 
several years after, the famine by Mr. George French, q.c, as- 
sistant barrister for the County of Longford, a very irritable 
old man, well grounded in the principles of the law, but who 
for forty years, it was said, had never troubled his head with 
reading the reports. Blackstone, Coke Littleton, perhaps Bracton, 
and the year books, were his learning in the law — and yet his 
county was a model one. The English laws of evidence he 



looked upon (as a Frencli lawyer would) as so mucli trash, anc 
his only aim was to make out the truth, caring not a jot whether 
it was hearsay evidence or not. For a criminal to escape in 
Longford was an impossihility ! Associated with him on the 
Circuit, as his junior, was Mr. Thomas Ellis, whose knowledge 
of case law w^as pretty accurate; and the sparring of those old 
men on Circuit afforded infinite amusement to the puhlic and 
the har. Mr. French's examinations were most amusing : — 
" Witness— what— is — your— name?" was his stereotyped first 
question. Next, if it was a murder case, " Did you know the 
deceased ? '' The witness replied that he did. Next question — 
which was sure to he followed by a loud — grunt — of disapprobation 
from Mr. Ellis — " Is he living or is he dead ? '' 

A.D. 1850. — Mr. George Crawford, who had accepted a judge- 
ship in South Australia, ceased to be a member of the Society. 
Immediately before leaving, he was entertained by the bar and 
presented with two silver claret jugs as a token of their esteem 
and regard. 

A.D. 1851. — Ward v. Freeman. — This was a case of consider- 
able importance, in relation to the protection of the judges for 
acts done by them at trials, and it occurred in this year on 
circuit, and in the County of Galwa3\ A man named Thomas 
Cummins sold for £'2 10s. a pig to his neighbour, John Ward, 
who immediately drove it to his home, but did not, though fre- 
quently pressed to do so, pay the price agreed on. Cummins 
issued a Civil Bill against him, and he took defence, on what 
ground we know not. The case, Cummins v. Ward, was tried 
before William Deane Freeman, Esq., assistant barrister of the 
County of Galway, who, on hearing the same, gave a decree 
in favour of the plaintiff, with 6s. costs. That Mr. Freeman 
must have been angry at the defence, would appear, firstly, by 
his refusing to receive Ward's appeal to the Judges of Assize for 
the County of Galway next then coming ; secondly, by his refusing 
to stop all further proceedings on the decree, though Ward paid 
the costs allowed by the Act ; thirdly, by his refusing to receive 
the recognizances for double the sum decreed against Ward; and 
fourthly, by his refusing to receive the affidavit of Ward's attorney. 
And so the proceedings on the decree were carried on, and the 


execution was lodged with the sheriff, who levied on the goods of 
Ward the sum of £2 10s. ^ the price of the pig. For those several 
acts of commission and omission Ward brought an action in the 
Court of Queen's Bench against the assistant barrister, Mr 
Freeman, claiming damages ; and in his declaration he sets forth 
the several four allegations above-mentioned, which were in truth 
nothing more than repetitions of what the Act of 1796, consti- 
tuting the Court of the assistant barrister, distinctly orders the 
assistant barrister to do, and which here he had not done. The 
plaintiff's declaration was filed, and no demurrer was taken by 
defendant thereto ; and the lawyers said that if no action lay, the 
defendant should have demurred ; for, if no action, why go to 
trial ? The defendant, in place of demurring, took defence, and 
the case did go to trial at the Galway Summer Assizes for 1851, 
and was tried by Mr. Justice Moore and a special jury. The 
attorney distinctly proved that the assistant barrister had acted as 
above set forth. 

The case for the plaintiff closed, and counsel for the defendant, 
Mr. FitzGibbon, q.c, with whom was Mr. Henry Concannon, called 
on the learned judge to direct the jury to find for the defendant, 
inasmuch as no action lay against him acting in his judicial 

Counsel for the plaintiff, Mr. Charles Blakeney, on the other 
hand, insisted that the assistant barrister, the defendant, on the 
evidence, had done those things which he ought not to have done, 
and had left undone those things which he ought to have done, and 
he (counsel) called on the judge to leave the evidence to the jury, 
and argued that if the jury believed the plaintiff's witnesses, he 
should direct them to find on the evidence. 

Mr. Justice Moore told the jury that the assistant barrister 
was a judge of a Court of Record, and, as such, was not respon- 
sible in an action for any act or breach of duty done by him 
judicially at a trial. The jury, acting on that direction, found 
for the defendant. Counsel for the plaintiff then excepted to 
the learned judge^s charge. The bill of exceptions was argued 
in the Court of Queen's Bench, and the judges were unanimous 
in upholding the verdict, and in approving of the direction of 
the judge at the trial. The exceptions were, therefore, overruled. 



Still dissatisfied, counsel for the plaintiff brought a writ of 
error into the Court of Appeal, then, when fully constituted, 
consisting of the twelve judges, and known as the Exchequer 
Chamber. Four of the judges being absent, the Court consisted 
of eight judges. The writ of error was argued before them, 
and they were unanimous that *' no action will lie against a judge 
of a Court of Eecord for any act done by him in the exercise 
of his judicial functions." But then the question arose whether 
the assistant barrister was acting in the exercise of his judicial 
functions. And four of their lordships held one way, and four 
held the other way. The Lord Chief Justice (Lefroy), Crampton, 
J., Moore, J., and Greene, B., held that the assistant barrister, 
acting as a judge of a Court of Kecord, in refusing to receive 
the appeal, acted judicially, and was not responsible in an action 
for such refusal ; whilst Chief Justice Monahan, the Lord Chief 
Baron Pigot, Torrens, J., and Perrin, J., held that the assistant 
barrister, acting as a judge of a Court of Record, in refusing to 
receive the appeal, acted ministerially, and was responsible in an 
action for such refusal. 

But five of the eight judges held that there was a mistrial, 
and that there should be a new trial, on the ground that evidence 
was gone into by the plaintiff to sustain his case, and that the 
judge was bound to leave the case to the jury, although he was 
of opinion that no cause of action was disclosed in the decla- 
ration ; three of the judges, Lefroy, C.J., Moore, J., and Greene, 
B., dissentientihiis. 

The judgment of the Queen's Bench was therefore reversed, 
and what in Law-Latin is called a venire de novo was ordered — 
that is a new trial. From this order defendant appealed to the 
House of Lords ; but before the cause was set down for a hearing, 
he died, and so the suit abated.^ 

George French, Esq., q.c, father of the bar, grand-uncle of the 
first Lord De Freyne, in this year resigned the place he had so long 
filled, for the increasing load of life made it apparent that he was 
unequal to the task imposed on him of being Crown Prosecutor for 
the entire Circuit. He had gone 109 Circuits, and his temper was 

^ n. *' Ir. Com. Law Rep.," p. 460. 


becoming daily more and more irascible, especially if under exami- 
nation was a Crown witness whose tender years would, perhaps, 
cause her to blush at the questions put by the aged counsel. 
"Pooh! this mock modesty," he'd exclaim to his own witness. 
The question was repeated in plainer English : the girl began to 
cry, and he began to curse. No theatrical exhibition was equal to 
it, especially if his junior, old Mr. Ellis, was there to take part in 
the exhibition. An address was drawn up and presented to the 
retiring father, which is as follows : — 

" To George Fiiench, Esq., q.c. 

" Dear Sir, — We, the members of the Connaught Bar Society, 
having received the announcement of your resignation of the office 
of father of our body, beg leave to express our deep regret at the 
severance of a tie which has bound us together for a long period of 
years, and to tender to you, in all sincerity, our warmest wishes for 
your happiness in your retirement. 

" Signed on behalf of the bar, 

*' William Armstrong, Father. 

" John William Carleton, Secretary .'' 

On the 22nd of December, 1851, Mr. Carleton presented the 
address, which Mr. French, overpowered with gratitude, received. 
The name of George French is still fresh amongst us. I never had 
the pleasure of seeing him on Circuit or at the bar, though I have 
many times seen him, the most tender-hearted of men, far advanced 
in old age, leaning on his servant-man, and showering pence 
amongst the beggars by whom he was invariably surrounded, and 
whom he was always cursing, " the curses of his honour being no 
harm." The retiring father gave up and confided to Mr. Carleton 
the golden snuff-box which had in 1846 been presented by Ser- 
geant Warren to the Connaught bar. On one side are two hands 
clasped, and on the other — " J. W. to the Connaught Bar Society." 
A magnificent snuff-box, which would tempt anybody to take a 
pinch or two of snuff out of it. 

The 3'ears 1851 and 1852 were disastrous to the Connaught Bar 
Society, so many men retired from its ranks. Thus Mr, J. B, 



Miller, Q.C., a County of Galway gentleman, we believe, having been 
appointed Librarian at the King's Inns, resigned his place in the 
Society. So also did Mr. Charles Granby Burke, another County 
of Galway gentleman, brother of the late Sir Thomas Burke, of 
Marble Hill, Bart., whose aunt Elizabeth was married to John 
Thomas, thirteenth Earl of Clanricarde. Mr. Charles Granby Burke 
retired, however, into a cosy berth, a Mastership of the Court of 
Common Pleas. Mr. William Dwyer Ferguson also retired into 
another equally comfortable but more laborious place. Registrar 
in the Court of Chancery. Mr. Abraham B. Fenton was also off 
the list. It may be with justice said that his was a warm berth, 
" Queen's Advocate in the Gambia/' on the West Coast of Africa. 
It is stated that. he applied for a knighthood on leaving for his dis- 
tant station, but was refused, on the ground " that a knighthood 
had never been given to a Queen's Advocate in the Gambia except 
one, and that it was given to him because he was the only lawyer 
that ever returned alive.'* Encouraging for poor Fenton. 

Much that would amuse or interest us now, connected with the 
Circuit, at the time of which we speak, is either forgotten, or a 
mere matter of tradition, because there were then no reports except 
those of the most important cases. Not so in later years ; for the 
leading journals are now furnished with copious circuit notes, 
written by members of the bar, and of course more reliable and 
fuller than those in former times. And yet, even now, mistakes do 
occur in such reports. We remember an amusing instance, when 
one of the learned reporters, having been engaged in defending a 
prisoner indicted for larceny, entrusted the reporting of the case to 
a law student of the Queen's College, Galway, who happened to be 
sitting in the bar seats. The prisoner was found guilty, and sen- 
tenced to twelve months' imprisonment. The Court then rose, and 
the counsel consoled himself for his defeat with the reflection that 
his client richly deserved his sentence ; but who can tell the amaze- 
ment of that counsel on the next day when the morning papers 
arrived, and the report proved to be exactly the reverse of what 
occurred ! It stated that " Mr. So-and-so, in an able speech, de- 
fended the prisoner, who was acquitted accordingly." In the bar 
room he was gently ridiculed, nay, was even charged with having 
furnished the report himself; jestingly, of course, for his brethren 



of the bar knew well that a man of his retiring and modest habits 
would have a thousand times preferred never to see his name in 
print at all. 

Until very lately, reporting by barristers was, as well as writing 
for the press, or for magazines, looked on as highly unprofessional, 
and on one of the English Circuits there was a positive rule against 
any barrister being engaged in such literary pursuits ; when, how- 
ever, it appeared that Lord Camj^bell had furnished the critiques 
on the theatre to a morning paper, and that other distinguished 
judges had once been reporters, the tide turned in favour of the 
new order of things. The leaders of the bar had once scorned to 
appear in print, while now they court it. We have heard of a bar- 
rister who, for some reason, was excluded by the reporters from 
their columns ; whereupon he wrote the following parody, of which 
we only remember two verses, on the popular song, " Oh, no, they 
never mention her " : — 

" Oh, no, they never mention me, 

My name is never heard ; 
The press has now refused to speak 

That unimportant word. 
From court to court I hurry me, 

But sad is my regret, 
For even should I win a fee, 

No notice can I get. 

"They bid me seek at common law 

The business others gain ; 
But if I e'en tried Chancery, 

My efforts would be vain. 
'Tis true that many I behold, 

Who by reporting get 
What I ne'er could by pen or fee, 

To my extreme regret. 

Of unreported cases on the Circuit we shall mention one at 
which we were present, when Walter Bourke, Esq., q.c, a good 
classical scholar, in his speech to a common and not very en- 
lightened jury of Mayo, insisted that, according to the evidence, the 
prisoner was found in the commission of a certain crime, "flagranto 
delictu,'^ as he purposely expressed it. 



*'What, Mr. Bourke, 'Jlagranto delictu^ ? You surely must 
mean * flagrante delicto,' " said the judge. 

Mr. Bourke replied that the jury would find he was right. The 
foreman thereupon nodded his approval as to the correctness of 
Mr. Bourke's Latinity, and said that it was evident his lordship 
was forgetting his Latin. Counsel next proceeded to quote a pas- 
sage from " Herodotus — the great poet of the Empire of the West." 
The judge must interrupt again. '* Surely a scholar of your well- 
known attainments must be aware, Mr. Bourke, that Herodotus 
was not a poet, but a great historian."" 

*' Well, my lord, I will ask you to send this question also with 
the issue paper to the jury, and you will see that my fellow- 
countrymen of Mayo will find that I am correct in my observations 
concerning Herodotus." 

The jury again nodding their assent, Mr. Bourke went on, and 
won, we are told, a verdict from a jury, who felt that a Protestant 
judge had the unblushing effrontery to impugn the accuracy of a 
Catholic lawyer and of a Mayo man on a question which, for aught 
they knew, might have been very intimately connected with Church 
history ! 

In geographical science the bar were amused at a mistake made 
by one of their body, and nearly made by another — a mistake 
amongst the learned that can find a parallel in " The Winter's 
Tale," where Shakspeare speaks (Act iii., scene 3) of the sea 
shores of Bohemia. It appears that the owner of a vessel sailing 
between some of the ports of the Black Sea, and one of the Irish 
ports, brought an action against an insurance company to recover 
an insurance effected on the vessel and its cargo, all of which were 
lost on the homeward voj^age. The captain was examined, and 
swore that the ship had been properly navigated, and that the crew 
behaved with " seaman-like sobriety ; " that the vessel did not 
delay a moment, and, save that they put into Malta, they touched 
at no other place. The captain, on the cross-examination, re- 
iterated what he had said on the direct, and he added that they just 
spent a night in Valetta. 

'' Oh," said Mr. Concannon, the leading counsel for the plain- 
tiff, in a stage whisper to his junior, " he has us there ; the plaintiff 
is hit, for on the direct examination he told me he only spent one 
night in Malta, and now he admits he was in Yaletta ! " 


"But," replies his junior, *'is not Valetta the capital of 
Malta ? " 

" Now, are you sure of that, Michael ? " 

" Of course I am." 

" My goodness ! " said the other, " I'm so delighted to hear 
that ! "* 

Hardly had this conversation terminated when the leading 
counsel for the defendant asked, "Did you not say to the counsel 
for the plaintiff, that you only called at Malta ? Answer me, sir." 

The witness replied, " I did." 

" How, then, do you reconcile that statement with that which 
you now make, that you called at Valetta ? " Here Mr. Concannon, 
for the plaintiff, in triumph sprung to his feet, "I thought, my 
lord," he said, " that every child in Court knew that Valetta was 
the capital of Malta ; " and so saying he sat down, pleased beyond 
measure with himself, and with his lately acquired geographical in- 
formation. The report of the case, too faithfully reported, appeared 
the next morning in the four Dublin daily papers, supplied, no 
doubt, by the four junior barristers on the Circuit, and who were 
somewhat profanely called " the Four Evangelists." Beyond all 
doubt the reports were refreshing and accurate; nevertheless they 
were displeasing to the critical eye of the going judge of assize, 
who wished all his profound admonitions and advices to the Grand 
Juries should be carefully reported. Now, one of those evangelists 
dined with the judges in Castlebar; and as the Record Judge in 
that town had been the Crown Judge in Sligo, and as the report of 
his address to that Grand Jury had omitted one or two elegantly 
turned periods, his lordship, when dinner was over, said, "Is it not 
strange that the Dublin morning papers cannot give an accurate 
report of what occurs? Their stupidity is marvellous." The evan- 
gelist sitting by, one of the most retiring of men, felt deeply the 
cut. But in a few days the same judge, addressing the County * 
Galway Grand Jury, in language fashioned on the mould of Gibbon, 
as all his language was, concluded an oration with this deploring 
remark ; — " The pillars of society are shaken, the needle has lost 
its polarity." Next day down came the morning papers, and all 
was accurately reported, save the last sentence, which was mis- 
reported by the stupid reporter, " The needle has lost its popu- 


Mr. Justice Ball, the going Judge of Assize — we forget the year — 
was trying a man accused of stealing cattle from off a farm in the 
County of Galway. Evidence of a former conviction was being 
given, and the counsel for the Crown, a Mr, Mat. Atkinson, said 
that he was about to examine witnesses to prove that the prisoner 
was a member of a lawless gang, which had at Clare-Galway 
attacked a convoy guarding the Indian meal, which he (counsel) 
pronounced maiL Counsel for the prisoner objected to the admis- 
sion of such evidence. 

"What," inquired his lordship, who rejoiced in a little merri- 
ment, " attacked the Indian mail, and destroyed it near Clare- 

Counsel said that it was too true, that it would be proved that 
prisoner had cut open the bags, and made stirabout of the " mail." 

'' God bless my soul ! by what process of boiling could that be 
accomplished ? " said the judge. " Why, this is most perplexing ! 
I always thought the Indian mail came into Southampton." 

Shouts of laughter followed, and the judge, who had affected to 
mistake the provincial dialect of counsel, seemed greatly amused at 
the mistake. He disallowed the evidence, and the trial proceeded. 

Unable to correct his provincial pronunciation, this member of 
the Circuit was, shortly previous to his death, addressing the Court 
in support of a plea which he had drawn to a summons and plaint, 
and which the plaintiff's counsel^ Mr. Frazer, of the North-east bar, 
sought to set aside as ambiguous and embarrassing. *' My lord," 
said the Connaught law^^er, " this is a good play,'" meaning thereby 
'plea. " What ! " said his witty opponent ; ''I deny it's a * play ' at 
all ; it's a ' farce ' 1 " Much merriment followed ; the reason of 
which was manifest to all but to him who had been the cause of it. 

For mirth and good-humour the Connaught Circuit was always 
remarkable; and amongst those who contributed by his wit, his 
learning, and his humour to make his brethren of the Circuit 
happy, was the late Walter Bourke, q.c, of Carrowkeel, who was 
head of an ancient Mayo family, and who joined the Connaught 
Bar Society in 1838. With the character of the Irish peasant he 
was familiar, and he could tell in a moment whether a witness was 
fencing or not on cross-examination. His knowledge of the Irish 
language, too, gave him a power over them, which others, ignorant 


of that language, failed to command. It was on a summer's 
evening, at the assizes of Castlebar in 1867, that he took the arm 
of the writer of these pages, as he strolled across the Green to par- 
take of the hospitality of the judges. On the way a countryman 
addressed him, and said — '' Your honour, you are employed for me 
in that case of mine that's to be on to-morrow." 

" Oh, Pat," said Walter, '' is that yourself? Til do my best 
for you, and I got your brief and your fee." 

^'Indeed," said Pat, '' when my attorney tould me that I should 
hire out a counsellor, I tould him that the sorrow betther counsellor 
I could buy than yourself, and be-the same token I gave him three 
guineas for your honour.'' 

" Oh, indeed ; I got the money sure enough, Pat, and I'll make 
a right good three-guinea speech for you ; " and we sauntered on. 

We had not proceeded very far, when the man, in a very 
thoughtful mood, returned and asked — " About the three-guinea 
speech, your honour, would a four-guinea speech be a betther one ? " 

Walter, amused, answered the question by asking another — 
*' Whether a three-guinea calf or a four-guinea calf was the better?" 
The client acknowledged that there was a great deal of sound sense 
in that question, and immediatelj^ handed him another guinea. The 
fellow then asked — ''What's the price of the best speech out, 
where your honour would not be afeard of any man, ayther priest, 
parson, Methody praycher, judge, or jury ? " 

Walter, in a calculating mood, looked down to his boots, put up 
his eye-glass, and eyeing his client, informed him that " five 
guineas was the price of the best speech out, and that no man could 
make a better speech than that." 

" Begorra, then, here is the balance of the five guineas ; and let 
me see how you will give it, in style,, to any man that daar say a 
word agin me." 

Walter put the two guineas in his pocket, and wished him good 
evening, '' As I am going," said he, " to dine with the judges." 

" To dine with the judges ! " said the man in amazement. 
" Is it in the parlour ? " Walter assured him that it was. "And 
this other counsellor [meaning me] will he get leave to dine there 
also?" "Oh yes, Pat, if he behaves himself." *'0h, blessed 
Saint Agnes — wonders will never cease ! Let me see now that you 



sit next one of their lordships, and when 3'ou find him getting 
soft afther dinner, tell him all about my case ; and here, now, is 
another two guineas," which also Walter put in his pocket. 

On the next day, while this case was being heard in the Record 
Court, the Crown Judge, taking his seat in the other Court, com- 
menced business. ''What noise is that?" said his lordship — 
*' what noise can that be ? Good gracious. Sub- Sheriff, will you 
cause silence to be kept ? " '' It's Mr. Walter Bourke, my lord, 
the Queen's Counsellor, that's making a speech in the other Court.** 
" Oh, can that be possible ? Will you go in and say that I shall 
feel obliged by his speaking a little lower?" The sheriff went in 
and delivered his message. " Ha, I see," said Walter; "tell his 
lordship that my client is down street, and I want him to hear 
me." Need it be told that loud laughter followed this amusing 
retort ? 

Of the further progre^ss of the case we have only to add that 
Walter obtained a verdict, first having entertained the judge, the 
jurj^, the bar, and his client with as good a five-guinea speech as it 
was ever our happiness to hear him deliver. It is unnecessary to 
state that when the case had concluded, Mr. Bourke at once handed 
back the extra money which he, owing to his keen sense of the 
ludicrous, had taken from his client. 

The ancient name of O'Connor is not frequently to be found 
on the Circuit roll, and when found, they appear to have had far 
from clannish ideas ; on the contrary, they appeared to share 
in the propensities of the game-cock one to the other. Roderick 
O'Connor, of Miltown, County Roscommon, was on the Circuit 
from 1820 to 1849, whilst Mathew O'Connor, of Mount Druid, 
and of Mountjoy Square, Dublin, was on the Circuit from 1822 
to 1846 ; and during the years that they were brother-circuiteers, 
they appeared to share in the antipathy of step-brothers. Where- 
fore this estrangement? All about Denis O'Connor dropping 
an "n" in the spelHng of his name. Mathew O'Connor, who 
was grand-uncle to the present O'Conor Don, and who had been 
in early life a solicitor, and then became a barrister, was the 
author of several works conversant with Irish history; he was 
author of " Memoirs of the Irish Brigade," published in 1844, 
'* History of the Irish Catholics,'' and several other works. But 


wherefore the controversy between those learned disputants ? It 
appears that O'Connor Don changed the spelling of his name 
to O'Conor. Immediately O'Connor of Miltown did the same, 
and this alteration offended not only O'Conor Don, but Mathew 
O'Conor ; a discussion ensued, which was carried on in the 
columns of the public press. It appeared to be an acrimonious 
and an '* endless " dispute, and, punning on the word, it was 
called the "N-less" correspondence. At the suggestion of some 
of the wise-heads, it was determined to refer the point in dis- 
pute to the arbitration of Ulster King-of-Arms. The ques- 
tion resolved itself into this — Was O'Conor of Miltown family of 
the same descent as that of the O'Conor Don ? Sir Bernard 
Burke, with prudence, received the disputants, likely to become 
combatants, in separate apartments, and then, having adopted this 
wise precaution, he heard Mr. Arthur O'Conor on one side, and Mr. 
Roderick O'Conor on the other. Cartulleries of old monasteries. 
Indentures, Deeds-poll, and Wills were examined by the experienced 
and learned Ulster, and his decision was in effect that both fami- 
lies had a common ancestor, namely, Tordhellach O'Connor, who 
ascended the throne in Ireland in 1136 ; he had two sons living 
at his death — Roderick, the last monarch of Ireland, and Cathal 
of the red hand. Roderick having, as everybody knows, resigned 
the supreme monarchy, reserved to himself Connaught as an 
independent kingdom ; from Roderick's brother, Cathal, is de- 
scended in a direct line the O'Conor Don. As to the spelling 
of O'Connor or O'Conor, Sir Bernard was of opinion that the 
two families might adopt either system, and that in times past 
the signatures were variously written one way or the other by 
the same writer. 

Mr. Mathew O'Connor was counsel and held many briefs in 
a case still remembered on the Circuit as " Purcell's Acre" — an 
acre so worthless, that it was valued at next to nothing in the 
rate books of the Union of Castlebar. Nevertheless the question 
as to who was entitled to the fee thereof became and was the 
subject of action after action on the Circuit, in which special 
counsel, with their special retaining fees, came down at several 
assizes from Dublin, and were associated with the several lawyers 
of the Circuit in so unimportant a case. It appears that a Mr. 


''PURCELUS acre:' 

O'Connor, who lived near Elphin, was entitled to a small pro- 
perty in the neighbourhood of Castlebar. The Earl of Lucan 
was the owner of the surrounding country for miles and miles 
on every side of it; but this little property was an eyesore 
in its midst, and in course of time the tenants on both sides 
having destroyed the landmarks, led to a confusion of the 
boundaries, especially in that part of the estates which was 
the most worthless, and therefore the most neglected. A man 
named Purcell had been in the occupation of a piece of marshy 
bog, on which he had cut turf until it had ceased to yield 
even that product, and hence it was called " Purcell's Acre." 
It was worth about five shillings a-year ; but neither O'Connor 
nor Lord Lucan would allow that it was the property of the 
other, and accordingly actions of trespass were brought^ and 
the venue then being local, the case could only be tried on 
the Circuit. Special counsel were brought down in the persons 
of Mr. Edward Pennefather, k.c, afterwards Chief Justice of 
the King's Bench, and Mr. Litton, k.c, afterwards Master in 
Chancery. Four times was the case tried by special jurors of 
the County of Mayo, who decided or refused to decide according 
as their fancies or prejudices dictated; and at last, after the 
expenditure of several thousands of pounds, victory declared in 
favour of the Earl of Lucan, who left the place derelict until 
recently, because, as a neighbouring peasant affirmed, " it wasn^t 
fit to feed a snipe." 

The political were deepened by the religious strifes that pre- 
vailed throughout the Province of Connaught during the decade 
following the famine of 1847. Religious riots, assaults, and 
batteries were then the order of the day, and it was too often 
the case that the reverend theologians 

" Proved their doctrines orthodox '^^Km 

By apostolic blows and knocks." 

The case of Grady v. Hunt^ was an illustration of this 
principle. There a Mr. Edward Lombard Hunt, a magistrate 
living at Headford, in the County of Galway, committed a 

» 7th Ir. Jurist, O. S. 

GRADY y. HUNT. 289 

shoeless boy named " Grady " "to prison until he should find 
bail " to keep the peace towards a Protestant clergyman whose 
field of action was at Shruel, on the borders of the County of 
Mayo. It appeared that the Irish Church Missions, at vast ex- 
pense, kept up a staff of theological disputants, one of whom had no 
hesitation in denouncing the faith of Master G-rady as idolatrous 
and damnable. The young personage, in return, not only '* hooted, 
shouted, and otherwise terrified,^^ but also *' flung stones, brick- 
bats, and other dangerous missiles" at the Kev. Divine, who 
thereupon swore informations against him. A warrant was issued 
for his arrest, and he was committed "until he should find bail," 
according to the express words then in use in the commission 
of the peace. Now, this committal might Jast during the re- 
maining term of his natural life, for he might never find bail. 
Thereupon Mr. Coll Kochford, solicitor, by his counsel, applied 
in the Court of Queen's Bench for a habeas corpus, directed to 
the gaoler of the County Galway gaol, commanding him to 
bring up the body of young Grady before the Queen herself. 
The committal was held illegal, and the boy was discharged. A 
guardian ad litem being appointed, Grady brought an action in 
the Common Pleas against Mr. Hunt for false imprisonment, 
and for assault and battery ; and it was alleged that those several 
acts were maliciously by the defendant done to the plaintiff; 
damage ^6500. To this summons and plaint it was pleaded, 
that the defendant was acting as a Justice of the Peace, and was 
protected, when acting as such, by a certain statute therein set 
forth. The case was tried at the Galway Assizes in 1855, when 
the learned judge told the jury that the defendant was acting in 
his magisterial capacity, as appeared by the evidence ; and a verdict 
was directed for him. On the 2nd of November following, a new 
trial was moved for on the ground of misdirection of the learned 
judge ; for that on the evidence it appeared that he was not acting 
within his jurisdiction as a magistrate. Thus, supposing he had 
ordered the boy to be transported, could it be pretended that such 
order was made, acting in his magisterial capacity? The Court 
acceded to this view of the case ; a new trial was ordered, and the 
question resolved itself into one of damages. The case was tried 



in Galway at the Summer Assizes, 1856, and a verdict was found 
for the plaintiff large enough to carry full costs/ 

The Connaught judges — those who had been elevated to the 
Bench from the Connaught Circuit — were averse to this element 
of religious strife being perpetually thrown into the jury-box ; and 
w^e wish that it could be told that the counsel for the one party 
or the other were above availing themselves of such an aid 
to their winning a verdict for their clients. Mr. Justice Ball's 
ridicule of such an element was ceaseless and amusing. Thus, 
in an action tried at the Castlebar Summer Assizes, 1858, the 
junior counsel, opening the pleadings, said, " The plaintiff was 
one Patrick Murphy ; the action was for excessive distress. The 
defendant was the Reverend Theophilus Sumner, d.d., a Pro- 
testant clergyman, resident in Cheltenham, in England. There 
are several counts, my lord, in the summons and plaint, the last 
of wdiich is for the wrongful conversion of the plaintiff^s cow." 
"Conversion of the plaintiff's cow/' exclaimed the judge. "Con- 
verted the plaintiff's cow, did you say ? Who effected this marvellous 
conversion?^' "The reverend defendant, my lord." "Will 
counsel kindly read the count ? this is a most miraculous con- 
version ! " " And also," said the counsel, reading from his brief, 
" and also that defendant converted the plaintiff's cow to his own 
use.'' The judge, laughing immoderately, and perfectly pleased 
with his wit, confessed that he now understood it perfectly : great 
merriment of course prevailed in Court during the witty dulness 
of the funny judge. 

Another of the judges in those years, a Catholic, and one of 
the ablest on the Bench, restrained, as far as in him lay, the 
introduction of the religious question into the box ; but so deeply 
were the seeds of religious animosity sown, that in the smallest 
case, if there happened to be a difference of religion between 
the plaintiff and the defendant, or between the prosecutor and 
the prosecuted, it weighed with the jury. Where, therefore, on 
circuit in 1859, a prisoner was indicted for stealing a cow, the 
property of one Mathew Furlong, witnesses were put on the table 
to prove that the cow was one of a number of cows sold to the 

' VII. Ir. Jur., O.S., Index, fid, Grady v. Hunt. 


prosecutor at a fair, that they were all marked with his stamp, 
M. F., that the cow in question was marked also, and was found 
months after in the prisoner's stable. Counsel for the prisoner 
stated that his clients knew nothing whatever of this animal being 
in his stable no more than did Benjamin, the son of Israel, know 
that the silver cup was in his sack ; ^ and he put witnesses on the 
table, one of whom, he asked, ''was not the prosecutor a Scripture- 
reader?" and on this important fact the learned counsel for the 
prisoner dwelt in his address to the jury. 

The judge '' could not comprehend w4iat the religion of the 
prosecutor had to say to the simple issue that they had to try — 
was he guilty or not guilty of stealing the cow ? and, gentlemen of 
the jury, there is not one of you that cares one pin what his 
religion, if any, may be.'' 

The jury, after little hesitation, acquitted the prisoner. 

The Judge — " Gentlemen, are you in earnest? — Discharge the 
prisoner! — Discharge him — turn him out of that." The prisoner 
was discharged, the judge exclaiming, "John, you stole the cow." 

The Common Law Procedure Act, which came into operation 
in 1853, gave a deal of occupation to the bar, who were not slow 
in twisting, turning, and torturing every expression in its sections 
so as to make it harmonize, section after section, in one harmo- 
nious whole ! It was in this state of things that William Dwj^er 
Ferguson, Esq., ll.d., formerly of our Circuit, published a valuable 
commentary on that Act, which had been brought in by Mr. 
Whiteside. In 1859, Mr. Frazer, of the North-east Circuit, was 
moving before Mr. Justice Ball, with that ver}^ book in his hand, 
to change his own venue from Galway to Belfast. Now, Mr. 
Frazer, extremely witty, extremely irritable, and extremely elo- 
quent, was ably described by the late Sergeant FitzGibbon as 
being afflicted with a '' diarrhoea of words." In the case now 
before the judge, he struggled to rob the Connaught Circuit of 
a case which he meant to bestow upon his own ; while Mr. 
Edmund Jordan was resolved not to permit such a confiscation 
of Circuit property if he could prevent it. 

" On what grounds, Mr. Frazer," inquired the learned judge, 

* Genesis xliv. 12, 



" do you seek to change tlie venue you have laid in your summons 
and plaint ? '^ 

" I was about unfolding to your lordship the grounds upon 
which my application was grounded, when your lordship was 
kind enough to interrupt me. I move on the affidavit of my 
attorney, who swears that defendant, Mr. Jordan's client, is a 
tailor, and the action is brought against him for furiously driv- 
ing. This was not the case of a tailor on horseback : it was 
an action for driving over the plaintiff's wife to the plaintiff's 
damage of ^500. There are several counts : first, that defendant 
drove a certain horse that he knew to be a wild, furious, and 
unmanageable runaway, upon a certain day, upon, against, and 
over plaintiff's wife. There was another count for driving a 
certain horse that was not an unmanageable runaway ; but de- 
fendant with malice aforethought drove the same upon, against, 
and over plaintift''s wife. Then there was a count for that 
the defendant did not drive the horse at all, but that his ser- 
vant drove it, knowing the same to be a runaway and unman- 
ageable, upon, against, and over the plaintiff 's wife ; and there 
was a count that the defendant, by his servant, with malice afore- 
thought, drove the horse which was manageable upon, over, and 
against the plaintiff's said wife; and there was a count for an 
assault, and a count for special damage, that she was knocked 
down, whereby she became sick, sore, and disabled ; and that the 
plaintiff, who lost her society, was thereby put to divers expenses in 
effecting a cure of his said wife, who thenceforward became per- 
manently disabled ; and, lastly, there was a count on an account 
stated, every count varying the cause of action, but all the yslyj- 
ing counts agreeing in a marvellous agreement that the damages 
were iJ500. To this plaint the defendant pleaded a score of 
defences, called traverses or denials, and a special plea of con- 
tributory negligence, that plaintiff's wife crossed a certain street 
or other highway from one side thereof to the other, and that 
she did not cross at the crossing. Mr. Justice Ball begged 
of Mr. Jordan to inform the Court whether the cases in the 
books went so far as to lay down the proposition that the defend- 
ant might drive over the plaintiff's wife with impunity, because 
she was not on the crossing ? 


Mr. Frazer felt grateful to his lordship for this second and 
seasonable interruption. He would now proceed with his motion 
to have the venue changed^ on the ground of the great influence 
in the town of Galwaj of this tailor, to whom many an account 
was due by those that would be on the jury. 

Mr. Justice Ball.—" Oh, no doubt, Mr. Taylor, of Castle 
Taylor, is a person of great influence in the west, a magistrate ; 
and a deputy lieutenant of the County of Galway." 

Mr. Frazer did not say the defendant was a magistrate or 
deputy lieutenant, or that he was a Mr. Taylor at all. He was a 
shrewd tailor by trade. 

Judge Ball. — "Oh, The Gahvay Tailor's Case! Was not 
there a case in 6th ' Coke's Keports' called The Ipswich Tailors' 
Case ? And wasn't there a case in the books called, The Six 
Carpenters' Case ? Where do the witnesses, the plaintifi", and 
defendant reside ? " 

Mr. Frazer. — " Galway, my lord." 
" And the cause of action arose in Galway. Now, have you 
any case to show that you cannot get a fair trial in Galway where a 
tailor is defendant ? " 

"We insist, my lord, that it is the plaintiff's prerogative to 
lay the venue wherever he chooses. We now choose Belfast, and 
there were cases reported in * The Irish Jurist ' on that very point, 
and decided in this very Court, my lord." Now, it did so happen 
that in that Court, some time previously, when these decisions 
were made, there were two judges who had since died, to whose de- 
cisions very little weight was attached, and whose places were then 
filled by very able men, viz.— the Eight Hon. William Keogh and 
Mr. Justice Christian. 

So Judge Ball, again interrupting, inquired — " Who the judges 
were who had made those decisions ? Was the Court constituted 
then as it is now ? " 

" No, my lord," replied the irritated Frazer ; " two of your lord- 
ship's brethren, who made those decisions, upon which I rely, have 
long since left for regions of immortal bliss, where amongst the an- 
gelic choirs they sing eternal hallelujahs in a never-ending chorus, 
which charming society, I trust, it will be long before your lordship 
is called on to join." Here shouts of laughter shook the Court. 



" Oh/' said the juclge^ in a subdued and wailing tone^ shaking at 
the same time his head, '' the musical performances of my quondam 
brethren." A matter-of-fact old counsellor here inquired of a 
learned friend sitting near him " what it was all about ? '^ He 
had been listening attentively to the unsustainable motion,, and 
could see nothing to be laughed at in it. Whereupon he was in- 
formed that Mr. Frazer had in effect told the judge that he wished 
he was gone to heaven. "No, but did he say that?'' was the 
stupid rejoinder ; and then he began to laugh too. The motion 
was refused with costs. 

At the Spring Assizes of the same year, Mr. Justice Ball 
was the Crown Judge in Roscommon. A prisoner was there in- 
dicted for " Rape," and the Grand Jury had found true bills. 
On the case being called on, counsel for the prisoner rose and said 
that his lordship would not be troubled with this case. 

Mr. Justice Ball. — " Not troubled with this case ! Why, the in- 
formations I have perused disclose as barbarous a state of society as 
could be found amongst the savages of Ohwhyhee. Are you going 
to plead guilty?" 

" Well, my lord, assuming, but not admitting, that we did rape 
the girl, we are now in a position to marry her, and thus bring to 
a happy termination our ill-advised proceedings." 

" Oh," exclaimed the learned judge, " the ends of justice are 
not, and must not, be frustrated." 

Counsel for the Crown was satisfied to allow a marriage to be 
performed between the prisoner at the bar and the prosecutrix, 
within the walls of the prison. A priest could be easily had ; and 
if once they were husband and wife, he did not see his way to make 
her evidence admissible as against him. The whole affair arose 
out of a scrimmage at a wake. 

"A scrimmage,'' said the judge, in profound thought, "what's 
a scrimmage ? I don't remember to have seen the word in the 

Counsel for the Croicn. — "A scrimmage, if your lordship pleases, 
was a sort of a pulling and dragging match, and tumbling this 
way and that, and may be the other." His lordship, writing " this 
way and that way," and then called out, "And do I understand 
you to say ' may be the other ' ? I protest^ eh ! " 


Counsel for the prisoner would ^' undertake to explain what a 
scrimmage meant. A scrimmage may be defined to be a rookawn." 
'* Eh/^ said the judge. " A scrimmage in this case took place owing 
to a general melee [which he pronounced maley] being there." 

The Judge.— '' A what ? " '' A General Maley, my lord." 

Mr. Justice Ball, bewildered. — *' God bless my soul ! My old 
friend General Maley at a wake, and kicking up a row. Oh, this 
is alarming. Oh [shaking his head], did I ever expect ? " 

Counsel. — " Oh, maley [melee] is French ; a French word, if 
your lordship pleases." 

" What, a French General, a General Maley, the subject of a 
neighbouring Emperor, in amity with our sovereign, committing 
breaches of the peace, leading to a felony, at a wake. Oh ! this is 
an offence against the comity of nations. Let the Attorney-General 
be at once communicated with. Crier, call the Attorney- General ! " 
All this took place amidst roars of laughter, in which his lordship 
heartily joined, as soon as he allowed himself to appear to compre- 
hend the real state of affairs. 

The judge entertained on that night many of the bar ; and need 
it be told that General Maley's case was related to his brother 
judge, who was greatly amused ? It so happened that amongst the 
company was what might be called a black-letter lawyer, one who 
had been remarkable for a hereditary antipathy to soap, and who 
looked on tubs as an infatuation. He had been presented at the 
Vatican, but unfortunately was not operated upon by Pius IX., when 
his Holiness, at the high altar of St. Peter's, washed the feet of the 
many who availed themselves of that opportunity. He was now 
complaining of lumbago, for which Mr. Justice Ball prescribed : " to 
take a warm drink going to bed, and bathe the feet." Counsel 
would take a hot tumbler, but he had no faith in bathing the feet ; 
he thought it was nothing more nor less than " washing the feet." 
Mr. Justice Ball " admitted that it was open to that objection," and 
we all laughed excessively, and thought it so clever. The motions 
from the Connaught Circuit in Dublin, while calculated to amuse 
the judge, too often perhaps disclosed a state of society widely dif- 
ferent from the present, when the landlord looked on the tenant, 
and the tenant looked on the landlord, as members of one great 
family, who were each bound to protect the other. Woe to the 


process-server that was then seen lurking in the woods near the 
** big house ;^^ and woe to him that would attempt to serve the 
" poor masther with a paper out of the Coorts.''^ Affidavits after 
affidavits have been filed and briefed, and read and dwelt on by 
counsel without turning a muscle in his countenance, disclosing 
the courage and bravery of the process-server; how he opposed 
force to force ; how he was stopped by the gate-keeper of the grand 
gate, and how " he gently amoved him, and knocked him down, 
using no more force than was necessary." Motions, therefore, to 
substitute service of the writ were of everyday occurrence. Thus in 
the case of Sharper v. Blake, in .the Common Pleas, "counsel ap- 
plied for an order that service of the writ by serving the defend- 
ant by two letters through the post,' one registered and the other 
unregistered, and by posting copies of the writ on defendant's hall- 
door, upon the door of the police-barrack, and upon the gates of the 
Catholic and Protestant Churches of the parish, be deemed good 
service. Counsel moved on the affidavit of the process-server, 
which, after giving a historical account of his hair-breadth escapes 
in coming through the demesne, thus, my lord, proceeds : — * And 
this deponent further saith, that on arriving at the house of the 
said defendant, situate in the County of Galway aforesaid, for the 
purpose of personally serving him with the said writ, he the said 
deponent knocked three several times at the outer, commonly called 
the hall-door, but could not obtain admittance ; whereupon this de- 
ponent was proceeding to knock a fourth time, when a man, to this 
deponent unknown, holding in his hand a musket or blunderbuss, 
loaded with balls or slugs, as this deponent has since heard and verily 
believes, appeared at one of the upper windows of said house, and 
presenting said musket or blunderbuss at this deponent, threatened 
* that if this deponent did not instantly retire, he would send this 
deponent's soul to hell,' which this deponent verily believes he 
would have done had not this deponent precipitately escaped." 
The motion was granted accordingly, and the proceedings pro- 
ceeded ; but what on earth was then the use of motions, and ver- 
dicts, and judgments, and orders, if the sheriff, in league with 
the landlord, would not execute the execution, as may be gathered 
from the following letter from the sub- sheriff of another Con- 
naught County to the wife of the landlord, acknowledging to have 
received a bribe of a couple of bullocks ? 


*' Dear Madam, — I have by this post received the two writs as 
expected from Dublin. I settled the execution against your 
husband. I received the two bullocks ; but as cattle are down, 
there is a balance due. 

" A Dublin wine merchant has just handed me an execution for 
£617, and insists upon accompanying me to your place. I have, 
therefore, named Wednesday, on which day you will please have 
the doors closed against us. As the plaintiff may again be officious, 
I would recommend his being ducked when returning ; and a city 
bailiff, whom you will know by his having a scorbutic face, and a 
yellow waistcoat, should, for many reasons, be corrected. Pray take 
care the boys don't go too far, as manslaughter, under the late Act, 
is now a transportable felony. Tell your uncle Ulic I have returned 
non est inventus to his three last, but he must not shoiv. After we 
return 7iidla bona, on Wednesday next, I will come out and 
arrange matters. 

" Believe me, my dear Madam, truly yours, 

**A.B., Sub-Sheriflf." 

Everyone at the bar dinner at Parry's Hotel, Salthill, prior 
to the Summer Assizes of this year, was sorry when they heard 
that Mr. Justice Ball would not go the Connaught Circuit, or 
go circuit at all at the approaching Summer Assizes. In fact, it 
chanced that by the advice of his physicians he had left Kings- 
town the evening of the dinner, at seven o'clock, by mail steamer 
for Holyhead, where he would arrive about eleven. Now, the 
secretary of the bar, when proposing, according to custom, the 
health of the judges, read a letter of apology from his lordship, 
who was then, it being half-past nine, '' half seas over." The joke 
was well received. 

An amusing cross-examination of a doctor took place at the 
Summer Assizes of Castlebar in this year. The trial was one 
of little or no interest ; but amongst the Crown witnesses was a 
doctor, a fussy little man, with a small head, and a great amount 
of vanity, and his answers exactly suited the case for the Crown. 

Mr, BourhCy Q.C., leading counsel for the prisoner — ''Am 
I right, doctor, that you are known to be a man of great ability ? " 



The doctor admitted that he " always was and now is a man of] 
unexceptional abilities ; in fact, his mind [with a significant wink] 
was in the right place. ''^ 

Mr. Bourke, Q.C., inquired where was the right place for the' 
mind to have place in ? The doctor replied, in the brains. 

ilfr. Bourke, Q.C. — "And where are the brains?" *' In the! 
head, to be sure ; where else would you have them ? " 

Mr. Bourke, Q.C, looking at the witness's hat, which was of 
remarkably small dimensions, " And that is jour small hat, which 
spans within its ambit your smaller head which spans within its 
ambit your smaller brains. Impossible, sir— impossible. Everyone 
in Castlebar knows that the little doctor has more brains than half 
the County of Mayo put together. Now, am I right in that ? " 

Witness admitted the truth of what everybody knew. 

Mr. Bourke, Q.C. — " Is it not the case that the heart, which 
is usually at the left side of spinal column, is to be found un- 
usually at the right side of the said column ? Look at this book, 
sir, " handing witness ** Taylor's Medical Jurisprudence,'^ p. 328. 

" Yes, that is so.'' 

Mr. Bourke, Q.C. — ** And now, sir, by that process of mathe- 
matical reasoning, of which you are such a master, if the heart 
can exist at the wrong side of the spinal column, may not the 
brain also, in great part, exist at the wrong side of the same 
column ? " 

'' Quite so." 

Mr. Bourke, Q.C. — " And your brains, which admittedly can- 
not have room in that small skull, which fits in that small hat, 
must exist on the wrong side of the spinal column." 

*•* Well, ye — ye — yas — yes." 

Mr. Bourke, Q.C. — '^ Don't be hesitating, sir. Is not the 
spinal cord, called the medulla oblongata, a continuation of the 
cerebral mass called the brain, through the vertebrae from the top 
to the — eh — ah — other end ? " 

The Doctor. — " Of course, that is so." 

Mr. Bourke, Q.C. — " And your brains, which cannot have 
place at the top, must have place at the — other end ? Do you swear 
that ? " 

The Doctor (reddening, and completely puzzled by the un- 



seemly laughter that the audience, forgetful of the dignity of the 
place, indulged in) replied — ''Yes, I do; I — do swear that — I 
swear that — my brains are — situate in great part in the spine, as 
in every vertehrated animal." 

" And do you swear to my lord and the jury that your brains are 
down there in your— eh— ah ?^^ *' Yes, I do. They are there, of 
course. I swear my brains are in my — eh — ah ! " 

The learned baron, convulsed with laughter, regretted he had 
not the power of insisting that Mr. Bourke's questions should be 
veiled in the obscurity of a learned language. He apprehended 
that the witness might retire. 

The Doctor then rose to retire ; but in descending, he slipped, 
and fell into a sitting position on the stairs of the witness chair. 

Mr. Bourke, Q.C. — In great alarm, and amid much merri- 
ment : " Take care, doctor, or you'll knock out every one of your 
brains if you fall down on them that way." 

In the obituary columns of the legal periodicals of 1862 is 
noticed the death of Philip Cecil Cramptou, one of the judges of 
the Court of Queen's Bench. Mr. Justice Crampton sprang from 
a very ancient race ; he was a native of the parish of Headford, of 
which his father and his grandfather had been successively rectors. 
The name Cecil he took from his maternal ancestor, Cecil Lord 
Burleigh, minister to Queen Elizabeth. In Trinity College, Mr. 
Crampton had taken honours — scholarship, a fellowshij?, and 
was for a long time Professor of Law in that university. On his 
call to the bar, he selected in 1811 the Connaught Circuit. 
Though the Tories were then in the ascendant (for their long 
reign lasted, with the exception of the year 1806, through six-and- 
forty years), and though the Whigs were in the cold shade of 
opposition, he entered public life under the banner of the latter ; 
and, consequently, on the overthrow of the Wellington adminis- 
tration in 1830, his fidelity and his talents were rewarded by Earl 
Grey with the Solicitor-Generalship for Ireland. He then resigned 
his place on the Connaught Circuit, where he had long been in 
extensive, if not in leading, business. Why Mr. Blackburne, a 
noted Conservative, was then made Attorney-General, no man 
could tell. 

In the summer of 1834, Mr. Justice Jebb died, and a vacancy 


was thereby created in the King's Bench. Mr. Blackburne was, 
as a matter of course, offered the place ; his patent was made out, 
and it only awaited the royal signature to cgmplete the appoint- 
ment. Lord Melbourne, however, anxious for the assistance of so 
able an adviser, induced him, on the distinct promise of the first 
''chief" place that fell vacant, to forego his claims to the judge- 
ship. This arrangement being made, Mr. Crampton was noise- 
lessly appointed. The appointment, however, deeply offended 
O'Connell, who was arguing a case in the King's Bench, when a 
paper was slipped into his hand ; he took it up, read it, and in 
the middle of his argument, laughingly exclaimed : " And so 
Philip Crampton is Judge. Well ! well ! well ! " Crampton never 
forgave the exclamation. On the 9th of December^ 1834, the Whigs 
went out, and the Tories came into office ; and Mr. Blackburne, 
who in the morning was Attorney-General to the outgoing, in the 
evening was Attorney-General to the incoming administration of 
Sir Robert Peel. Their power, however, was of short duration. 
On the 7th of the following April, a hostile vote on the Irish 
Church displaced them, and Lord Melbourne returned, but not 
Mr. Blackburne, to office. Mr. Crampton contrived frequently to 
go the Connaught Circuit, generally stopping at Cahermorris, his 
brother's place, near Headford, on the way from Castlebar to 
Galway; and with the judge travelled his major-domo, Paddy 
Murphy, an old follower of the family. He was quaint, witty, 
and amusing, and held on religious and theological speculations 
views diametrically opposite to those of his master. On the vexed 
question of teetotalism, they also differed, the one regarding 
spirituous liquors as the curse of the world, while the other re- 
garded the same compound as its blessing. Whilst the judge 
denounced the soul-destroyiug beverage, which was rejected by the 
very brutes, the major-domo, on the contrary, was far from calling 
that beverage a soul-destroyer ; for, "at no time, could he re- 
member saying the ' Act of Contrition ' with such fervour as when 
he had a sup in ; and as for the poor brutes, sure if they had an 
ounce of sense in their heads, it wasn't water they'd be afther 
dhrinking." Thus it was that the controvers}^, long before Father 
Mathew's time, waxed warm ; and at last the judge gave orders 
that his richly-stored cellar was to be destroyed. " Oh," says 


Paddy, "there's the plugs drawn out of the hogshead^ and the 
blessed dhrink running all about the country. Sure if he was a 
judge twenty times over, he must have a hog's head on his 
shoulders that would do the like of that, and the poor wife and 
myself ordered to take stimulants whenever we can get them — 
Augh ! " 

The judge did^ no doubt, look with a horror, increasing with 
increasing age, on intoxicating drinks ; and though a true believer 
in the doctrines and teachings of St. Paul, yet never would he 
follow the advice given by him in the 23rd verse of the 5th chapter 
of his first Epistle to Timothy, '' Drink no longer water, but use a 
little wine for thy stomach's sake." Drinking and carousing he 
knew had brought ruin on many an ancient family in his 
native county. 

The judge had an inveterate habit of nodding his head at 
counsel arguing before the Court. " Go on, Mr. Cooper," said 
Mr. Justice Burton ; " why do you thus stop suddenly in the middle 
of your argument ? " ''I really can^t, my lord, proceed, while Judge 
Crampton is nodding his head at me ; and the smack of his lips 
every five minutes is like the uncorking of a bottle;" and so it 

Judge Crampton, a most polished gentleman, far from being 
incensed at the rudeness of the lawyer, said, " He was really not 
aware of these his peculiarities, and he felt grateful for the rebuke ; 
but no man is conscious of his own peculiarities." 

In going the Western Circuit, he observed that the obligation 
of oaths was of trifling value with too many of the humbler 
classes. Cases of determined perjury were of everyday occurrence ; 
and he observed that an adjuration on the holy evangelists was 
considered far inferior in solemnity to one upon the priest's vest- 
ments ; but whether there be any regular formula to be observed 
in the swearing of the western peasants, with the certainty of 
ensuring truth, he failed to find out. Oaths, he thought, like 
adjectives, have, with the ignorant peasantry, three degrees of 
value — the positive, the comparative, and the superlative ; the 
book, the vestment, and the skull ; and nothing was more common 
than to hear a witness sworn on the holy evangelists offer to fortify 



his doubtful evidence by taking the vestment, though the vestment, 
is not as conclusive as the skull. 

Mr. Justice Crampton was a painstaking judge. At the close 
of his life he was considered to have gone over to the Tories. Heart 
and soul he was a supporter of that church in which his father 
and grandfather had been, as well as his brother, clergymen. Old 
age, with its infirmities, was now heavy on the judge. He was 
in 1859 in his seventy-eighth year, and he resolved to retire from 
the fatigues of public life. Valedictory addresses were presented 
to him, and Mr. Whiteside, then Attorney-General, spoke the 
farewell of the bar. 

Mr. Justice Crampton concluded a touching reply by saying : — 
*' It is better in my advancing years to make way for younger and 
abler men, and it is time that I should take a little repose, a little 
rest, before I enter on that rest that never ends ! " He then re- 
tired into private life, and died in 1862, being in his eighty-first 
year, leaving one son, at whose early death his estates devolved on 
the judge's nephew, Mr. George Eibton Crampton, long a member 
of the Connaught Circuit, and one whom I am happy to count 
as one of my old and valued friends. 

Amongst those who aff'orded me infinite amusement and in- 
struction was Walter Bourke, Q.C. The first time I heard him 
speak was on my probation Circuit ; and certainly his drollery, in- 
formation, and good-nature, won for him many friends. A great 
admirer of the Right Honourable Abraham Brewster, he saw him- 
self in 1860 associated with that learned gentleman, who came 
down to Castlebar as special counsel in the case of Little and 
Clarke versus The Hon. Edward Wingfield and others ; the ques- 
tion at issue being whether the plaintiifs had, as they insisted they 
had, the exclusive right of fishing in the River Moy — a right which 
extended not only to the channel, which the defendant did not 
deny, but embraced the right of fishing over every square yard that 
was covered with water at the flow of the tide between Ballina and 
the sea. To prove this, much of the unhappy history of the 
country was raked up, beginning with the Inquisition of 1609, and 
the grant of the fishery by James I. to Lord Delvin ; then the for- 
feitures and confiscations of 1641, and subsequent patent by 


Charles II. to Sir Charles Preston, from whom the plaintiffs 
claimed their title. The defendants insisted on a several fishery 
merely on the shore of his own land, opposite Scurramore, where, as 
Mr. FitzGibbon, q.c, counsel for the principal defendant, stated, 
" the salmon come, leaving the deep bed of the river, and hugged 
in close to the shore, because the porpoises pursue them in mil- 
lions, and the salmon avoid them by getting into shallow water." 
The defendants insisted that the Wingfields were in the enjoyment 
of the lands from Scurramore to a point at Poolraine from 1670 to 
1857, and that they had a decree from the Court of Claims con- 
firming their title in the reign of Charles II., but no mention in 
the grant of " the title to the fishery," though since 1788 to the 
present time they fished without hindrance or interruption. The 
trial lasted several days. For the plaintiff, and with the Right Hon. 
Abraham Brewster, q.c, were Mr. Walter Bourke, q.c, Messrs. 
Edward Beytagh, and George Orme Malley, instructed by Mr. 
Thomas MacAndrew. For the defendant (Colonel Wingfield) 
there appeared Messrs. Gerald FitzGibbou, q.c^ James Robinson, 
Q.c, and John William Carleton, instructed by the Messrs. 
Reeves. Mr. Patrick Blake, q.c, and Mr. William J. Sidnej^, 
instructed by Mr. Charles Sedley, were for the other defendants. 

Mr. Robinson, q.c, " having," to use the words of Mr. Justice 
Perrin, who tried the case, " exhausted every argument that could 
be brought to bear on the question in support of his contention, 
and having left no stone unturned," the reply fell to Mr. Walter 
Bourke, q.c, who always spoke sitting down. He commenced by 
telling the jury what " a grand comparison he had that morning 
heard drawn by a sharp, shrewd, intelligent country fellow, between 
the counsellors as they were going into Court. " What do you 
think, Pat, of Mr. Brewster, that came down for the Littles, all the 
way from Dublin?" says one to the other. "Then the sorrow 
much I think of him," says Pat [here Mr. Brewster, slightly 
colouring, looked over his spectacles at Mr. Bourke] ; " the sorrow 
much I think of him ; sure he was only a couple of hours spaykin' 
[speaking], and sure, instead of having an English accent, lie spoke 
as plain and as simple as I would myself, and sure there isn't a 
child in Coort that wouldn't understand him ; and sure you 
wouldn't think he was a scholar at all ; but give me my own Walter 



Bourke^ that would spake from ten o'clock in tlie morning till ten 
o'clock at night, and except the judge, who is a fine scholar, of 
coorse, there is neither man, woman, nor child, could make out 
what in the world it was all about, the fine English, and Mr. Walsh, 
the schoolmaster, counted six syllables in one word of his, and 
sometimes Latin. That's the man for my money ! " Mr. Brewster 
was infinitely amused, and Mr. Bourke continued, that " he entirely 
agreed with the countryman that any child in Court could now 
understand Mr. Brewster's statement, which he (Mr. Bourke) 
called a magnificent one, and which unfolded the title plainly and 
simply. The piscatory episode of Mr. FitzGibbon, and the wars 
between the salmon and the porpoise, he had nothing to do with, 
neither would he apply himself to the reasons that so weighed on 
the salmon's mind as to influence them to make such a strategical 
move in their retreat from out of the way of the pursuing por- 
poises. He would stand by his patents, which granted him the 
fishing of the River Moy, and let the defendant stand on his 
patent, which subsequently granted him the lands — a grant which 
did not, and could not, entrench on the preceding one at all. But 
then they insist on the other side that they fished on the shallow 
waters, and that is all. Why, it is proved to you that the best part 
of the fishing is in the shallow water, because the salmon goes up 
the shallows. It is a serious thing to say — looking at it — how, 
when the tide comes there, and the fishing has been granted, that 
the water which is shallow, and where the fish would naturally 
come, should be excluded from the Moy fishing. Oh ! but — -without 
a title — they say they were permitted by us to fish — they trust to 
evidence of usurpation. Now I see men on that jury who possess 
paternal property. I will ask them a simple question. Suppose 
I wish to go into their estates to sport. The counsellor goes, he 
is well received, he is entertained with hospitality ; he returns 
again, and is again well received ; he goes on thus from year to 
year. No objection is made. At last the counsellor returns, and 
brings with him his friend FitzGibbon, who, though a bad shot, 
fancies sport, and his friend Eobinson also, and in addition his 
friend Blake ; and so they come in a body to take all the game. 
Never was there such a tumult — never such a ruction. They are 
going to stop all the counsellors ; but the counsellor says ; — 



' This is all very well, I have a better title than you.' One land- 
lord says — ' Here is my Incumbered Estates Court title, giving me 
the game.' The counsellor answers — ' Pooh ! that is nothing but 
old waste paper. I have here sportsmen, dog-boys, et cetera, and 
I will produce my title of user.' " Mr. Bourke, q.c, then com- 
mented on his deduction of title from the grantees in the reign of 
Charles II., and closed a speech of much drollery by asking a 
verdict for his client. The jury found for the plaintiff, thus con- 
firming their title to the fishing of the entire of the River Moy. 





'MONGST those who held foremost place on the Cir- 
cuit during the third and fourth decades of the pre- 
sent century, was Richard Keatinge, who has lately 
died. His father, Maurice Keatinge, was a barrister, 
and he of whom we write was born in 1792, and was 
called to the bar in his twenty-second year. In 1814 
he joined the Connaught bar. Some of the important cases 
in which he was engaged we have already given, but others we 
have omitted, because they occurred too near to the present time. 
Mr. Keatinge, who was a vehement speaker, was accused of being 
tautological in his addresses to the juries — a fault on the right 
side — especially as he veiled in varied language the same reason- 
ings and arguments ; he thus in the end made the stupidest and 
most inexperienced of jurors understand, however complex, the 
case. He was bitterly opposed, in religion as in politics, to 
Catholic Emancipation ; but his feelings weighed not a feather 
in the balance, when he was called on to act as an assessor or 
judge, as he was at the memorable Clare election of 1828. Of 
the political excitement of that memorable year we are not about 
to speak, for its history is known of by all men. Suffice it here 
to say, that it was the genius of O'Connell carried Catholic Eman- 
cipation. The agitation had assumed under his guidance an 
irresistible force, and his impassioned eloquence produced an im- 
pression on assembled multitudes like that created by the greatest 
orators of the world; for his influence over the people rivalled 
that of Demosthenes in Athens, Cicero in Rome, or Mirabeau 
in France. The Tory ministry, which, under the leadership 
of the Duke of Wellington, came into office on the 26th of 
January, 1828, felt the force of his power. The new Cabinet 
was not long formed when a vacancy occurred in the Presidency 


of the Board of Trade, and one of the most advanced of the advo- 
cates for Emancipation, the Eight Hon. Yesey FitzGerald, m.p. 
for the County of Clare, was appointed to the place. This 
appointment created a vacancy in the representation of that county, 
and a writ for a new election was issued. At the hustings in 
Ennis there were two candidates ; one, the Cabinet Minister, Mr. 
FitzGerald, and the other Daniel O'Connell. Thousands upon 
thousands, headed by the Catholic clergy, were assembled in 
Ennis on the day of the nomination. Mr. O'Connell, from the 
spot on which his column now stands, harangued multitudes, who 
seemed to roll like waves in a storm, under the magic influence of 
his eloquence. The sheriff had retained, as we have said, Mr. 
Keatinge as his assessor, and here that able lawyer distinguished 
himself. Whatever his private feelings wer#, they were concealed, 
even from himself, on that trying occasion. Mr. Dogherty was 
counsel for Mr. FitzGerald, and Mr. Richard Lalor Shell ^ for 
Mr. O'Connell. Charges of undue influence were every moment 
being made on the one side, and repelled on the other, and the 
case of Asliby v. White ('' Smith's Leading Cases "), which became 
even as a household word, at that time, amongst the unlearned, 
was hurled by the advocates in terrorem at the assessor ; but his 
well-balanced judgment directed the sheriff through the difficulties 
of the occasion. At one time an attorney employed by Mr. Fitz- 
Gerald rushed in and exclaimed that a priest was terrifying the 
voters. Counsel for Mr. O'Connell defied the attorney to make 
out the charge. The assessor very properly required that the 
priest should attend, and, behold, Father Murphy, of Corofin : his 
solemn and spectral aspect, for such it was, struck everybody as 
he advanced with fearlessness to the bar, behind which the sheriff 
and Mr. Keatinge were seated, and inquired, with a smile of 
ghastly derision, what the charge was which had been preferred 
against him. "You were looking at my voters," cried the 
attorney. "But I said nothing," replied the priest; "and I 
suppose that I am to be permitted to look at my parishioners." 
"Not with such a face as that," cried Mr. Dogherty, Mr. Fitz- 
Gerald's counsel. " This," writes Mr. Shell, "produced a loud 

1 a 

Shell's Legal and Political Sketches," Yol* ii., p. 114-135. 



laugli_, for certainly the countenance of Father Murphy was fraught 
with no ordinary terror; 'and this then,' exclaimed Mr. O'Connell's 
counsel, ' is the charge you hring against the priest ? ' At this 
instant one of the agents of Mr. O'Connell precipitated himself 
into the room, and cried out, ' Mr. Assessor, we have no fair play ; 
Mr. Singleton is frightening his tenants ; he caught hold of one 
of them just now, and is threatening vengeance against him/ 
This accusation came admirably apropos. * What/ exclaimed the 
advocate of Mr. O'Connell, ' is this to be endured ? Do we live 
in a free country, and under a constitution ? Is a landlord to 
commit a battery with impunity ? and is a priest to be indicted 
for physiognomy, and to be found guilty of a look ? ' " Thus a 
valuable set-off against Father Murphy's eye-brows was obtained. 
Mr. Keatinge decided that if either a priest or a landlord inter- 
rupted the poll, they should be indiscriminately committed, but 
thought the present was a case only for admonition. *' Father 
Murphy was accordingly restored to his physiognomical functions." 
And thus from day to day, for six days, the election went on. 
Treating at elections was not then, as it is now, contrary to law : 
and accordingly the electors, patriots, counsellors, attorneys, and 
agents, were piled upon each other when partaking of the election 
hospitality of Mr. O'Connell. 

The polling terminated on the 5th of July, 1828. The votes 
were— for O'Connell, 2057; for FitzGerald, 982. Majority, 1075. 
And now the question was argued before the assessor, whether 
Mr. O'Connell, being a Boman Catholic, could be legally returned. 
*' The assessor, Mr. Richard Keatinge," writes Mr. Richard Lalor 
Shell, " after an excellent argument, instructed the sheriff that 
the election was valid, and to return Mr. O'Connell as duly 
elected, leaving it to be decided by the House of Commons what 
oaths were necessary to qualify a Roman Catholic to sit and vote ; 
and he was accordingly returned. 

The sequel of the Clare election is briefly this. In the interval 
between Mr. O'Connell's return, and the meeting of Parlia- 
ment, on the 6th of February, 1829, the cabinet yielded, and the 
Catholic Relief Bill, on the 13th of April, 1829, was passed. 
Mr. O'Connell then presented himself in the House of Commons, 
claiming to sit and vote under the provisions of the new law, 


having been duly elected. He argued his own case with consum- 
mate ability ; but it was decided, that " having been returned before 
the commencement of the Act, he was not entitled to sit or vote 
without taking the oath of supremacy." A new writ was there- 
fore ordered for the County of Clare. Mr. Keatinge was again at 
his post as assessor, but there was nothing for him to do, and 
Mr. 0^ Council was returned without opposition. 

Of Mr. Keatinge's further career, we have only to state that in 
1840 his name disappears from the Circuit Roll, that in 1842 he 
was appointed Sergeant by the Conservative Government, and in the 
following year was raised to the Bench of the Prerogative Court, on 
the abolition of which he was appointed Judge of the Court of 
Probate in 1857, which post he resigned in 1868. He died on 
the 9th of February, 1876. 

A.D. 1878. — James Henry Monahan. — On a day in the month of 
December in this year, was announced, in language of sorrow, the 
death of this distinguished lawyer, who, for eighteen years, had 
travelled the Connaught Circuit. Born at Eyrecourt, in the 
County of Galway, in the second year of the present century, he 
had passed the three score and ten years allotted to man. From 
his entrance into the University of Dublin, to his leaving it, his 
course was a brilliant one ; and in 1823 he was awarded the 
Mathematical Gold Medal. During the five years ensuing, he ap- 
plied himself to the study of the law ; and in 1828, being then in 
his six-and-twentieth year, was called to the bar. In the follow- 
ing year he joined the Connaught Bar, and from that hour to the 
hour of his leaving the Circuit, he displayed those qualities of 
mind and heart that won for him the esteem of his clients, the 
confidence of the solicitors, the admiration of the bar, and the 
respect of the Bench. Gifted with a vigorous and intelligent mind, 
he was unsurpassed in the rapid collection of facts, and in the 
application of the law to the facts when collected. His knowledge 
of human nature, and his power of observation, won for him the 
character of being second to none in the cross-examination of his 
antagonists' witnesses. As a speaker, he was powerful, wdthout a 
spark of eloquence ; nor did he attempt to conceal by any afi'ecta- 
tion on his part the absence of that gift which cannot be acquired, 
but which is given to man from above. In the Court of Chancery, 



his arguments were listened to with the profoundest respect hy 
Sir Edward Sugden, who, in 1841, called him as one of Her 
Majesty's counsel within the har ; and it was the opinion of that 
eminent chancellor and able man, that James Henry Monahan 
had no superior either at the English or at the Irish bar. Sim- 
plicity of statement, clearness of arrangement, detestation of 
trickery, glory in winning a case on the merits — these were his 
qualities. Then in the bar room he was one of the most genial 
of men ; would play a rubber of whist, and enjoy himself until 
a late hour, his briefs, however, having been first carefully studied, 
noted, and commented on. Now, an English client in 1843 was 
plaintiff in an action to be tried at the Galway Summer Assizes ; 
and being a member of the English Bar, he was^ as a matter of 
course, the guest of the Connaught Bar Society, on each succes- 
sive day ; but this client was very far from being a hapj^y man, 
when, on the night before his case was to be tried, he saw Mr. 
Monahan, q.c, close upon midnight, winning hand over hand at 
whist. " What/' said the English client, in half-dazed amaze- 
ment, " won't you read your brief to-night, Mr. Monahan?^' *' Oh ! 
nonsense, man alive ; we never read briefs here as ye do in 
England ; we^ll bottom it, as we used to say in Trinity long ago.^^ 
In distraction, the client left the room, and in distraction came 
back in an hour to find that his leading counsel had retired for the 
night. With a heavy heart, he heard his junior counsel open the 
pleadings the next morning. But when Monahan stated the 
case, he showed, in the three hours he spoke, that he knew its very 
smallest details. He examined and cross-examined in his turn, 
and finally won for his client a verdict, bringing, as he always 
brought, his boundless learning in the law to bear upon his argu- 

On the overthrow of Sir Kobert Peel's Government, in 18 i6, 
he was selected by Lord John Eussell for the office of Solicitor- 
General, with Mr. Moore (who had previously held office under 
the Whigs) as Attorney-General ; and the latter having been, in 
1847, raised to a judgeship in the Queen's Bench, he was succeeded, 
as a matter of course, by Mr. Monahan, as Attorney-General for 
Ireland. In the month of February, 1847, he was returned as 
member of Parliament for the borough of Galway ; but at the 

MONAHAN, C.J. 811 

General Election, in the same year, he lost the seat. The harvest 
of 1847, like that of 1846, had failed. These were disastrous times, 
and the disasters were deepened in 1848, when the French people, 
dissatisfied with the rule of Louis Philippe, " threw up the bar- 
ricades, and invoked the God of battles." The throne of that 
faithless king fell, and he who had betrayed Charles X. was now 
himself an outcast. The flame of revolution was then lighted 
all over Europe. It was lighted in Ireland, but was soon 
extinguished here; and those who lighted it were transported 
to places beyond the seas, or else, escaping from the vengeance 
of the Government, sought, as John Blake Dillon, one of the 
most gifted and popular men on the Connaught Circuit, did, 
the hospitality of the United States of North America, which he 
enjoyed until the return of happier times. The name of Monahan 
is inseparably connected with the suppression of the Irish Eebel- 
lion of 1848. On the Connaught Circuit, however, no trial for 
high treason or treason-felony took place ; and it would, there- 
fore, be wandering from our path into other Circuits to speak 
of trials that took place on them. 

The death, in 1850, of Chief Justice Doherty caused a vacancy 
in the Common Pleas, and the Attorney- General Monahan suc- 
ceeded to the vacant seat. During five-and-twenty years he dis- 
charged the duties of Chief Justice, and few men even brought to 
the administration of the law a more vigorous or a more acute mind, 
and none has administered the office with greater zeal and impar- 
tiality. In 1876 he resigned his seat on the Bench. Immediately 
the Irish Bar assembled in the Law Library of the Four Courts ; 
the chair was taken by Mr. Edward Pennefather, q.c; an address 
was unanimously adopted, and it was presented by a deputation, 
consisting of the Attorney- General (the Eight Hon. Edward 
Gibson), Sergeant Armstrong, E. Pennefather, Esq., Q.c, and 
Charles Kelly, Esq., q.c, who waited on the Chief Justice at his 
private residence in Fitzwilliam Square. The address is as 
follows : — 

*' Sir, — We cannot allow the close relations which have for so many 
years subsisted between us to determine, without expressing to you the 
sentiments felt deeply by the Irish Bar on the occasion of your retirement. 
Presiding for a quarter of a century over the Court of Common Pleas, you 



discharged your high functions to the entire satisfaction of the suitors, 
legal profession, and the public. None are better qualified than ourselves 
to appreciate and to recognise the efficiency with which your high office has 
been administered ; and we believe that seldom have the duties of a judge 
been discharged with greater zeal, more penetrating discernment, deeper 
legal knowledge, or purer love of justice. These are the higher qualities 
which in your person have adorned the Bench ; but we cannot omit to say 
that you have been uniformly distinguished by an unfailing courtesy and 
consideration for us, which facilitated and made agreeable the discharge of 
our duties before you, and which will long endear the recollections of your 
judicial character to our profession. We will now only add that we sincerely 
wish you many years of happiness and repose in that retirement which awaits 

The Ex-Chief Justice replied : — 

*' I am most grateful to the bar for the address which you have presented 
to me. The kind feeling which it evinces towards me touches me deeply. 
Indeed, during my whole judicial life, as well as now, at its close, I have 
received uniform kindness and consideration at the hands of the bar. For 
this I am profoundly grateful. I esteem the approval of the bar as the 
very highest honour which a judge can receive. Whatever success has 
attended my effi^rts to perform the duties of the office I have held, must be 
mainly attributed to the able assistance 1 have received from the profession. 
I thank you, gentlemen, and the rest of the bar, most warmly, and have 
now to express my sincere wish that although official relations between the 
bar and myself have ceased, the friendship and kind feelings which have so 
long subsisted between us may continue unaltered." 

Judges as a rule, retiring from the Bench, are short-lived. In 
the ahsence of the excitement to which they had been long 
used, the hours heavily roll along — without business, without 
pleasure, they accuse the tedious progress of the sun, and in this 
comfortless state their repose hastens their decay. The learned 
Chief Justice, on his death, left a name great amongst the judges 
of the land. 

Chief Justice Monahan was succeeded on the Bench of the 
Common Pleas by the Eight Honourable Michael Morris, who 
had been, like his predecessor, a member of the Connaught bar. 
He was no stranger when he joined the Circuit in 1850; for beside 
the fact that he w^as a Galway man, several of his near kinsmen 
had already won a high position at the bar, and in their native 
town. We have already spoken of James Henry Blake, Esq., Q.c, 


and Patrick Blake, Esq., q.c, both of whom were cousins of Chief 
Justice Morris, and both of whom were members of our Circuit. 
Another member of his family, John Blake, deserves mention for 
the active part he took in the politics of Galway. He was 
maternal uncle to Chief Justice Morris, and first cousin of the 
Messrs. Blake, whom we have just named. He was born in 
1798, entered Trinity College, Dublin, when scarcely fifteen years 
of age, and in his undergraduate course took honors in both 
classics and science. Graduating in 1818, he was called to the 
bar in 1824, then joined the Connaught Circuit, and from that 
time forward was the active and efficient colleague of Mr. Blake, 
afterwards Sir Valentine Blake, Bart., in helping to carry on the 
contest which was then being waged by the Independents of Galway 
against the Dalys of Dunsandle. 

That contest sprang from causes that were then remote. Until 
the Great Eebellion, Galway was a wealthy and powerful city, as we 
have seen; and the families called the Tribes, of whom we have 
spoken, were pre-eminent there for rank, and for opulence, derived 
from trade. These families were noble in the true sense of the 
word nobility ; just as the merchants of Venice were noble, though 
untitled. Their representatives ruled the town, as they had done 
for centuries, until it became necessary, after a long siege which 
they had sustained for the royal cause, to surrender on the 12th of 
April, 1652, to Sir Charles Coote. But the articles of surrender 
were such as the brave alone could claim. All persons within the 
town were to have quarter for lives, liberties, and persons ; and six 
months' time was given to such of them as wished to do so, to 
depart with their goods and chattels to any other part of the king- 
dom^ or beyond tbe seas. The clergy were to have the same time 
to depart, and, with few exceptions, an indemnity for past offences 
was given to all who were named in the second article of the treaty. 
The inhabitants were allowed to enjoy their real estates within the 
town or its liberties, saving, if these estates were sold, to pay a 
third part of the price to the State of England. Two-third parts 
of their real property were guaranteed to them ; the corporation 
charters were to subsist ; all prisoners from Galway were to be 
liberated without ransom ; and all goods belonging to Galway, and 



taken by land or sea, were to be restored. Eatification was to be 
procured by the president, Sir Charles Coote, within twenty days. 
On these conditions was Galway delivered up to the Parliamentary 
forces. But their violation had been resolved on from the first ! 
A monthly contribution of four hundred pounds was levied on the 
town ; fifty priests were shipped to neighbouring islands, until 
they could be sent to the West Indies, and only two pence a-day 
each was allowed for their support ; the churches were converted 
into stables, the sacred vessels into drinking cups ; the mayor and 
aldermen were imprisoned ; and an order was made by the Council 
of State, in 1654, that the mayor and chief officers should thence- 
forth be English and Protestants, and should be, if they were not 
then such, removed. In the following year, by order of the Council 
of State, all Irish and other Popish inhabitants were ordered to be 
removed from the town, without distinction of age or sex ; and 
most of them were driven from the town in the depths of a severe 
winter. The merchants thus driven away were replaced by 
soldiery, wealth by poverty, thrift by thriftlessness ; and the 
town fell into decay. The Kestoration brought hope to such of the 
old inhabitants as remained in the country, and many of them 
returned to the town ; but, even then, they do not appear to have 
regained, at least until the reign of James II., their place in the 
government of Galway. The old names are no longer found in the 
''Grand Council/' and those of the newly-come assume their place. 
In the reign, indeed, of James II. certain members of the families 
of the tribes appear again for a few 3'ears as mayors and sheriffs, 
and Members of Parliament for Galway; but the battle of Aughrim 
annihilated their public influence. After that battle Galway was 
invested by the troops of King William, under General Ginckel, 
and surrendered on favourable and highly honourable conditions, 
amongst which were, that such of the garrison as chose to remain 
in the town, or proceed to their respective homes, could do so, and 
enjoy the benefit of the capitulation, while the rest should march 
to Limerick with their arms, six pieces of cannon, drums beating, 
colours flying, match lighted, bullet in mouth, and as much 
ammunition and provisions as each officer and soldier could carry 
with him ; that the garrison, corporation, and inhabitants should 


enjoy their estates (real and personal) and their liberties, as they 
would have done under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation or 
otherwise ; that the Eoman Catholic clergy and laity of the town 
should have the private exercise of their religion ; that the clergy 
should be protected in their persons and goods ; and that the 
Roman Catholic lawyers of the town should have free liberty of 
practice, as they had in King Charles II. 's time. 

Had such salutary provisions been loyally carried out in Galway 
and elsewhere in Ireland, how different would be her history ! But 
even at the first, immediately after the surrender, the Roman 
Catholics were subjected to such considerable annoyance by the 
party in power, that many of their leading families quitted the 
town. Nevertheless, these annoyances were, during the reign of 
William III., the result of private prejudices of the ruling party, 
not the result of public law — tacitce ducordice, et quce intelligerentur 
potias quam viderentur : for in that reign the rights of the Roman 
Catholics, under the terms of the capitulation, were allowed, and 
w^ere even acknowledged by Parliament. But the accession of 
Anne was the beginning of the end ! By the Act to Prevent the 
Growth of Popery, no Papist could, after the 24th March, 1703, 
take or purchase any house or tenement in Galway, or come to live 
in the town or its suburbs; while those who were then living there 
should either before that day have given security for their faithful 
bearing towards Her Majesty in such reasonable sum as to the 
authorities of the town should seem fit, or else should depart from 
the town. In 1708,*on one occasion, during the apprehension of a 
Stuart invasion, the mayor wrote to the Privy Council that he had 
turned all the Popish inhabitants out of the town, and had com- 
mitted their priests to gaol. They were, indeed, soon permitted 
to return; but they were subjected to a similar violence in 1715, 
and many isolated acts of persecution were, besides, from time to 
time, inflicted on both the clergy and laity of their creed. How, 
in such a state of things, could industry flourish amongst a class 
subject to such violence? It died away, or almost died away, 
amongst the Roman Catholics. The Protestant settlers had 
brought with them the traditions, not of industry, but of arms ; as 
conquerors they despised what had been the occupation of the 



conquered ; and they felt that their own security depended on their 
being ever ready to keep what the}^ had taken. No wonder then 
that the town was steeped in poverty ! Meanwhile an Act of 
Parliament, known as the Galway Act, was passed in 1717, limiting 
the freedom of the town to such persons as had been professed 
Protestants for seven years, and had taken the oaths of supremacy 
and abjuration, and had subscribed the declaration against transub- 
stantiation. Thus the freemen were both few and poor; and they 
were, therefore, naturally in the power of wealthy landlords. The 
Eyres, Shaws, Stauntons, and FitzPatricks were, from the Revolu- 
tion to the year 1764, for the most part in the ascendant ; and the 
FitzPatricks, whose power had, at the latter period, begun to wane, 
felt jealousy at the great influence then still possessed by the Eyre 
family. The FitzPatricks, too, represented more of Liberalism and 
of sympathy with the Catholic party than was to be found amongst 
the Eyres. Looking about, therefore, for an ally, they found one 
in Mr. James Daly, of Dunsandle, who was wealthy and a Protes- 
tant, and who was desirous of supremacy in the town. Accordingly 
we find, in 1764, James Daly first on the list of the Common 
Council, while in the following yesLY he was mayor, and in 1767 
Member of Parliament for the town. Thenceforth the Dalys 
rapidly acquired great influence. They virtually nominated the 
mayors, sheriffs, and civic officers, and had the representation of 
the town in their hands ; and from 1777 to 1820 every mayor, save 
one, bore the name of Daly. Their supremacy, however, though 
they represented the Liberalism of that day, was not allowed with- 
out protest. Mr. Patrick Blake, of Drum, about the year 1771, 
gave them much trouble ; nevertheless Mr. Daly, of Dunsandle, in 
spite of all opposition, consolidated his power. Later on. Colonel 
Martin, of Ballinahinch, a member of our Circuit, entered the lists, 
but without success; and it was not till the year 1812 that a 
candidate who was not a nominee of Mr. Daly succeeded in being 
elected Member of Parliament for the town. Mr. Blake, of Men- 
lough (afterwards Sir Valentine Blake), eldest son of Sir John 
Blake, was returned on that occasion, and again in the year 1818. 
Nevertheless the claims of Mr. Daly were by no means as yet 
subverted; for his power was really based on the non-resident 


freemen of tlie corporation, whom he claimed the right to nomi- 
nate ; and the judges had but recently decided in favour of these 
non-resident freemen. His opponents, who were called the 
Independents, worked on steadily; but it was not till some 
years had passed that their efforts were crowned with success. 

John Blake, of whom we were speaking when we entered on 
this long episode concerning the politics of Galway, was one whose 
ability and public spirit raised him high amongst the Independents 
of the town. He was the able and active coadjutor of Sir Valentine 
Blake ; and during the Reform movement of 1832, he remained in 
London to assist in working up that portion of the enactments 
which abolished for ever the non-resident freemen of the town. 
This enactment necessarily broke the power of the Dalys, who 
could no longer confer on their own tenants the franchise of 
Galway. The Act was passed on the 7th August, 1832. Mr. 
Blake, proud of what he had done, returned at once to Galway to 
give an account of his stewardship ; he arrived there on the 13th 
of August. He was received by the people with enthusiasm ; 
bonfires blazed in his honour; the joy-bells rang merrily as he 
entered the town, and three days later the same bells tolled for his 
death ! Consternation was on every countenance, grief in every 
heart. He had died in the night of cholera ! 

By his will he left to the Presentation Convent very consider- 
able funds, by means of which was founded, later on, that branch 
of the order which is settled at Oranmore. 

There was another Blake on the Circuit, John, eldest son of 
Sir Walter Blake, Bart., by Barbara, his wife, daughter of Myles 
Burke, of Ower, Esq. John Blake graduated in Trinity College 
Dublin, in 1782. In 1783 he was called to the bar, and in 
1784, joined the Connaught Circuit. With abilities above the 
average, he might have expected to rise to high eminence at 
the profession, of which, however, he was independent, and he 
does not appear ever to have done more than to take his place as 
a circuiting barrister at the assizes, which relieved him from the 
burden of serving on juries. His father dying in 1802, he suc- 
ceeded to the baronetcy and estates, and so continued in possession 
thereof until his death in 1834, when he was succeeded in both by 



his eldest son, Sir Valentine J. Blake, m.p. Sir John left another 
son, John Brice Blake, several daughters, one of whom was married 
to Thomas Turner, Esq., of Hales Hall, Staffordshire; another to 
Lord Yentry; another to Mr. Mahony, of Dromore, County Kerry; 
and another, Arahella, to Sir Hugh O'Donel, Bart., of Newport, 
County Mayo, which Arabella was married secondly to John 
O'Hara, of Raheen, Esq., father of Robert O'Hara, Esq., b.l., for 
some time a member of the Connaught Bar Society, and now an 
eminent Parliamentary lawyer. 

Before parting from our Circuit, we have to recall to our 
memory names that we have omitted in their chronological order. 
We have mentioned the name of John Kirwan, of the Dalgan 
Park family : but there were other Kirwans ; there was James 
Kirwan, son of John Kirwan, Esq., of Castle Hacket, who repre- 
sented a junior branch of the Kirwans of Cregg, in the County 
of Galway. Called to the bar in 1778, in the next year he joined 
the Connaught Circuit : though not a brilliant speaker, he spoke to 
the purpose, and his opinion carried weight with it in all cases 
where real property was involved. He was, therefore, better known 
in Chancery than in the Courts of Common Law. Mr. Kirwan 
shared in the family love for horses j for w4io is ignorant of the 
Castle Hacket horses, at the close of the last century, and what 
they achieved in the race ? Their prowess is still remembered, and 
the name of their owner, the brother of Mr. James Kirwan, is 
perpetuated in the *' Kirwan Stakes," at the Curragh meetings. 
Mr. James Kirwan was, in 1799, appointed assistant barrister for 
the County of Galway, which situation he resigned in 1820, when 
he was presented with a piece of plate, a silver cup, upon which 
is this inscription— *' Presented to James Kirwan, Esq., by the 
magistrates of the County of Galway." The remainder of his days 
was passed at Castle Hacket. He died in 1829, as appears from 
the sepulchral inscription on the tomb of the Kirwans, in the 
Abbey of Ross : " Mr. James Kirwan, Barrister, departed this life 
the 4th May, 1829, aged 76 years." He was one of the most 
popular of men, not alone with his equals, but wath the peasantry, 
who insisted on carrying his remains upon their shoulders for 
seven miles to their last resting-place in the abbey. 


Jolin Andrew Kirwan, j.p., d.l., was eldest son of Martin 
Kir wan, Tuam, second brother of Joseph Kirwan, of Hillsbrook, 
Esq., J.p. Joseph Kirwan left no son to inherit his property, hut 
had several daughters, the eldest of whom married Captain Euseby 
Kirwan, by whom she had a son and daughter : the son, John, is 
married to Lady Victoria Hastings, and the daughter, Mary, is 
Lady O'Donel, wife of Sir George O'Donel, of Newport, in the 
County of Mayo, Bart. One of Mr. Joseph Kirwan's younger 
daughters, Elizabeth, is now the Eight Honourable Elizabeth, 
Dowager Viscountess Netterville. John Andrew Kirwan, -who took 
the estate under an entail, on attaining his twenty-first year, 
married Mary, only daughter of Major William Burke, by 
his wife Lady Matilda St. Lawrence, daughter of the Earl of 
Howth, and co-heiress of the last Earl of Louth. Called to the 
bar in 1845, having been educated in Trinity College, Dublin, 
Mr. Kirwan naturally chose the Connaught as his Circuit. One 
of the wittiest and most amusing men, perhaps the most amusing 
I ever met, he would probably have succeeded at the bar, were he 
dependent on his profession ; but he was not. As a magistrate 
he was endeared to all sorts and conditions of men. Poor fellow, 
he died about ten years ago, leaving a daughter, Matilda, the 
wdfe of my relative, Joseph Burke, Esq., of The Abbey, Kos- 
common. Mr. Kirwan was known as '' the poor man's magistrate," 
and his judgments were so full of fun that the prisoner often left 
the dock for the prison in screams of laughter. On one occasion 
a poor man was summoned for selling apples on a Sunday, and the 
majority of the Bench were for punishing him under the statute 
3 and 4 William HI. Mr. Kirwan being in the chair, was obliged, 
though dissenting, to pronounce the judgment of the Court, which 
was as follows : — 

" My good man, you have been found guilty by the majority, and 
not by the minority, of the Bench, under a statute of William III., 
of the very desperate offence of selling apples on a Sunday. You 
are not aware, very likely, of who William HI. was, because you 
are only a common appleman ; but if you were an orangeman, you'd 
know it. You must understand that their worships don't like 



people eating apples on a Sunday, although 'tis very likely that 
some of them, however pious, will have an apple pie for dinner next 
Sunday. And now, as you have heen summoned under a certain Act, 
you'll be punished under that Act, and I sentence you under that 
Act to be put in the stocks for the next two hours ; and '' — turning 
to a brother magistrate — " I donH think there are any stocks in the 
town ; and if there are not, you must be discharged." And dis- 
charged he was. 

There was yet another name worthy of remembrance, that of 
Francis Burke, Esq., ll.d., third son of William Burke, Esq., of 
Ower, by his wife, Teresa Kirwan, sister to Joseph Kirwan, 
last above-mentioned. Born in 1783, he entered Trinity Col- 
lege, Dublin, in 1796, he being a few months over thirteen years 
of age. His undergraduate course was a brilliant one. Having 
been awarded the Hebrew premium, he obtained first honors year 
after year in classics and science, and lastly took the Gold Medal. 
On the then (for mathematicians) all-absorbing question, " The 
Binomial Theorem," he wrote a valuable treatise, which was a few 
years later written on by Sir Joseph Napier, Lord High Chancellor 
of Ireland. Mr Burke stood for Scholarship, and won it, stood in 
1807 for Fellowship against Philip Crampton (afterwards Judge), 
and won thereat the Madden Premium (^£300),^ and would, had he 
gone in the next examination, most assuredly have taken a Fel- 
lowship. He preferred, however, to rest satisfied with his Madden 
Premium. In 1808 he was called to the bar, and in the same 
year was unanimously elected a member of the Connaught Circuit. 
Though ''a sound opinion,'' a good Chancery lawyer, a safe pleader, 
and a renowned Equity draftsman, he was ungifted as an orator, 
and consequently was unequal to far inferior men on the Circuit. 
Francis Burke probably chose the bar as a profession because he 
had an uncle, Francis Burke, his father's brother, also a barrister ; 
but the Irish bar was then closed against Catholics, and he was 
constrained to seek in places beyond the seas his fortune, which 
he did at the then colonial bar of Philadelphia. The mail packets 
— or rather stray vessels, carrying the mails — used in the middle 

^ " Dublin University Calendar " for 1834, p. 127. 


of the last century to sail from Cork, accompanied on their outward 
voj^age by a fleet for their protection. In the autumn, 1758, it 
was arranged that Francis Burke, senior, was soon to take 
his departure from Galway to Cork, there to take shipping for 
the West Indies. The bell-man had been duly sent round on 
Sundays and holidays, in Galway, and also in Tuam, and no doubt 
in Ballinrobe, to inform the public that on the 1st January, the 
muleteer would be in the saddle, at the Gallows-green, Galway, 
with loaded pistols, ready for the road. On the appointed day the 
travellers, each attended by a spare horse, met at the appointed 
place ; and after three or four days they reached their destination, 
lighter luggage, clothing and the like, claret, &c., being carried in 
the saddle-bags, whilst the heavy chests were sent by common 
carriers on roads, which, to the degenerate men of modern days, 
would appear impassable. The following extract from a private 
letter from Francis Burke, descriptive of the mode of travel in those 
days, is not without interest. 

** CoRKE, January 20th, 1759. 

"Dear Brother, — We arrived, eighteen in number, here 
yesterday from Galway all in good spirits, so that, ye Lord be 
praised, we have no need to be grieved. Ye convoy is hourly 
expected, having now a favourable wind ; so that we hope to have 
no great delay here. Captain Carroll (ye captain of our ship) is 
not yet arrived from England, but is expected. We lodge at one 
Captain Keane's, near the Quay, where we are to pay seventeen 
shillings a week for our diet and lodgings, which is pretty extra- 
vagant, but could get it no cheaper ; we are all hearty, as we lodge 
together. The carmen arrived here a Wednesday, and delivered 
us our chests this day. All our clothes are safe. Our horses 
behaved very well, but Jack Lynnote's, who got ill about sixteen 
miles from this town, and I believe never will return to Galway. 
He was obliged to hire a horse, and pay six shillings and sixpence 
for him. My two horses are in tolerable order. I was advised 
to bring my boots and spurs, riding-coat, and whip." 

Nine years later he writes that he had taken out his degree, 
and that he had been admitted to the colonial bar. He also speaks 




of liberty of conscience, at least amongst Christians, being tbere 
established, as appears by the following extract of a lengthened 
private epistle : — 

" Spruce Steeet, Philadelphia, 

" Srd Febniary, 1768. 

" I became an A.M. in the Academy here, and am now a 
counsellor. . . . This is a fine countr}^, where a man can live 
as happy as at home — liberty of conscience for all that believe in 
Jesus. The finest girls in the world are here ; but I will never 
give my heart or my hand to an American lady. I shall wait until 
I return to my own land to Mary." 

I am not aware that he ever did return. On one of the pillars 
of the avenue gate of his ancestral home is inserted a slab, on which 
is cut his name, " Fr. Burke, A.D. 1758," being his last year in 
Ireland. Having made this digression from one Francis Burke to 
another, from our uncle to our grand-uncle, from the nineteenth 
to the eighteenth centuries, from the Connaught to the colonial 
bar, let us return to Francis Burke, who remained a member of the 
Connaught Bar Society until his death in 1845. Subsequently, 
in 1849, my brother, Mr. William J. Burke, a.b., t.c.d., now of 
Ower, J.P., became a member of the same learned body; and after 
many years I was elected to the membership, and subsequently to 
the secretaryship thereof, in both cases having been proposed by 
Mr. James Robinson, a.m., t.c.d., Esq., q.c, now the first Sergeant; 
so that I was not a stranger to the Connaught bar when I joined. 
I had many relatives there also, and all of them my friends ; and 
now after long years, how, as I write, do I rejoice to think that, 
amongst those of us that remain, those friendships of early life are 
still undimmed ! Alas, that many of the best and brightest, when 
our circle closes in at evening, are no longer there ! Alas, for when 
can the friendships of youth be rivalled by the friendships of later 
years ? and when can the heart rejoice in the festive scene, as it 
used to rejoice *' in life's morning march, when the bosom was 
young" ? 

A.D. 1866. — John Blake Dillon was one of the most remark- 
able of the brilliant young men who clustered together within the 



walls of Trinity College in the years 1839 and 1840. He had 
been previously an ecclesiastical student at Maj^nooth ; but finding 
himself unfitted for the priesthood, he left its cloisters for the bar, 
to which he brought the reputation which springs from having 
filled the office of Auditor of the College Historical Society. Called 
to the bar in the Trinity Term of 1842, he entered on the battle of 
life at a time when the agitation for the repeal of the Union was at 
its height. The young man's earliest years had been spent in the 
County of Mayo, where, at Ballyghadereen, in 1814, he was born 
of respectable parents. In appearance Dillon was a man of lofty 
and elegant bearing — 

" In whom the gods had joined 
The mildest manners with the bravest mind." * 

As a political writer he was well known ; and in the year in 
which he was called to the bar, his name appears as one of the 
writers in the prospectus of " The Nation Newspaper," then about 
to be launched into life. 

On the appointed day the " Nation" "came out," and we are 
informed by Sir Charles Gavan Dufty that the article " Aristocratic 
Institutions," was from the pen of Dillon. 

Tiiough political feelings were embittered in the memorable 
year 1843, and though the majority of the Connaught Bar Society 
were Conservative, yet they welcomed to their ranks in that year 
young Dillon, who was proposed by Walter Bourke, Esq., Q.c, and 
seconded by Matthew Atkinson, Esq. In Castlebar he got his first 
brief, and acquitted himself thoroughly well, and to the satisfaction 
of his many friends ; yet writing of that performance, he says : 
'^ If I acquired any fame at Castlebar, I owe it to the unblushing 
mendacity of my good friends the reporters. My speech was very 
weak, and I would be very much dissatisfied with myself if I had 
not the justification of its being a first speech to a jury, and made 
without even a moment to think of what I was to say." 

Whilst opposed to the agrarian laws of Ireland as they then 
were, he was also bitterly opposed to the assassinations which 
degraded, alas, this Christian land ! " What is the course," he 

' Pope's " Eiad," xxiv., Hne 902. 



wrote, \^' whicli the people of Ireland ought to pursue ? They 
ought to join together, and call with one voice for a complete 
remodelling of the laws affecting landed property. Instead of com- 
mitting unmeaning murders, which every good man must con- 
demn, however he may pity the unhappy wretches who are driven 
to those dreadful deeds — instead of breaking out into partial insur- 
rections, which only expose them to the vengeance of their oppres- 
sors — let them unite and work with a common purpose, and their 
combined strength cannot be resisted." This salutary advice 
does not go the length of advising the people not to take advantage 
of friendly foreign aid when they could find it ; and when therefore 
the French and Americans offered to assist O'Connell in forcing 
from England the repeal of the Union, and when the Liberator 
exclaimed that he would rather abandon repeal than owe it to 
infidel France, while, as for America, his countrymen " would 
help England to pluck down the American Eagle in its highest 
pride of flight/' Dillon became indignant, and wrote as fol- 
lows of the insult thus offered to France and America : — 
"Everybody is indignant with O'Connell for meddling in the busi- 
ness. His talk about bringing down the pride of the American 
Eagle is base and false. Such talk must be supremely disgusting 
to the Americans." The truth is that Dillon was ready at any 
moment to secede from the Kepeal Association ; and Thomas 
M^Nevin, also a distinguished member of the Connaught Bar 
Society, and author of " The Volunteers of 1782," and " The 
Confiscations of Ulster in the reign of James I.," says that Dillon 
wrote him a letter stating that he was sick of the Conciliation 
Hall, from which, indeed, he soon after seceded, as also did 

The hardships of an inclement " Circuit " in 1846 told upon the 
robust frame of John Blake Dillon, and a cold caught in Castlebar 
fastened upon his chest. He was ordered, in consequence, to 
Madeira for the winter, whither, with many misgivings, he pro- 

The subsequent career of our learned friend is well known. 
Though opposed to taking the field, he yet felt that he was bound to 
William Smith O'Brien in 1848. After the failure of the insur- 
rection of that year, he was for a time concealed in the neighbour- 


liood of Tuam, and was actually under an old arch of tlie weir 
bridge when a party of police crossed it in search of him. From 
Tuam he escaped to Galway, where, disguised as a Catholic priest, 
he sailed for New York. Breviary in hand, the quondam theo- 
logical student acted his part so well that a pair of lovers, seeing a 
priest on hoard, applied to him to perform the marriage ceremonj-. 
He made many excuses, hut at last hit upon the right one, that he 
had no faculties from a bishop to permit him, when on board, 
to perform the ceremony of marriage. On arriving in New York, 
he was admitted to the bar ; in 1854 he returned to Ireland, and 
in 1856 was re-admitted unanimously to his former Circuit. For 
a time he took no part in politics, but was at length induced by 
some friends to enter the Corporation of Dublin, when he turned 
his attention to the financial relations between England and Ire- 
land. In an able and carefully compiled report to the Corporation, 
he demonstrates that the Irish taxes expended out of Ireland in 
1861 amounted to nearly four millions ; and when, in 1865, he 
was elected Member of Parliament for Tipperary, he brought this 
subject under the notice of the House of Commons. Of the 
Fenian organization he disapproved ; nevertheless he was in his 
later, as in his earlier years, the unaltered and unalterable foe of 
English rule. " What," said he, " have our great men been strug- 
gling for under various forms for the last two hundred years, but 
that the rule of the stranger should cease upon those shores — that 
his bigotry should no longer insult our convictions, and that his 
greed should no longer devour our substance ? In front of all our 
institutions, civil, military, and ecclesiastical, that shameful in- 
scription may still be read, ' This land belongs to England.' To 
erase this foul legend has been the object of the efforts of every 
genuine patriot from Swift to O'Connell." I knew Dillon well, 
and often and often was I entertained on Circuit by the anecdotes 
he used to tell of his adventures when concealed, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Tuam, after the abortive rising in 1848. He died of 
the cholera in 1866, and was interred at Glasnevin. His was a 
mind thoroughly free from illiberality of any kind, and though not 
successful as a speaker, yet his calm and earnest manner, and the 
fulness of his knowledge which he brought to bear on the subject, 
always secured him a hearing when he felt called upon to address 
the House. 



A.D. 1869. — Henry Concaunon, Esq., ll.d., q.c, \Yas popular 
amongst all classes on the Circuit. He was eldest son of Edmund 
Concannon, Esq., of Waterloo, a County of Galway gentleman. 
In his earlier years he was excessively fond of attending the 
Assizes balls and teas, then colloquially called tea-fights, whence 
Mr. Keogh (afterwards Judge), in the course of one of his oft 
amusing after-dinner speeches, alluded to him as '* Con of the 
hundred tea-fights," a play on the name of one of the heroes of 
Irish history, " Con of the hundred battles." Mr. Concannon 
was well known as a criminal lawyer, and as an able defender of 
prisoners. He had amongst his friends of the Circuit men con- 
nected with the press, and was, for this cause, besides his own 
merits, never omitted from the papers as having been counsel in a 
case, or as having made an " able and eloquent address" to the 
jury. On one occasion, when Mr. Justice Keogh was trying a 
case in Galway in which, Mr. Concannon had spoken exceedingly 
well, the latter, as he resumed his seat, turned merrily to the 
legal reporter, who was at the other end of the bar seats, and 

called out aloud, so that the judge could hear him — "X , 

remember * able and eloquent ' " (X we use as the sign of 

the unknown quantity, whose name as reporter we advisedly, 
lest it should give him offence, refrain from giving.) The 
judge, who was infinitely amused, was amused still more when 
he heard Concannon add in louder tones, " Mind, * Critically 
speaking, it was one of the ablest defences that it was ever our 
privilege to hear in a Criminal Court.' " Twenty-four hours went 
over, and down came the morning papers; and Mr. Justice 
Keogh, wiping away the tears of laughter that were streaming 
from his eyes, chuckled with delight at what he had heard and 
what he was reading, as follows : — " The hearing of this case, 
the particulars of which we have already more than once laid be- 
fore our readers, was resumed at the sitting of the Court. Mr. 
Concannon in an able and eloquent speech addressed the jury. 
Critically speaking, it was one of the ablest defences that it was 
ever our privilege to hear in a Criminal Court. The prisoner was 
acquitted accordingly.-" The judge dined with the bar that evening. 
The Secretary gave out before dinner the old and long disused 
grace of the Circuit, " Benedictus benedicat/' and after dinner, 



*' Benedictus henedicatu7\" And then the witty judge, \N'ho had 
been all this time burning to speak on the ludicrous stage whis- 
pers, and the consequent newspaper reports, complimented Mr. 

Concannon and Mr. X on the speech and on the report. 

" By the way, X " said the judge, " I'm told there is a tariff 

for the reporters' praises — a tariff, a sliding scale of payment, pro- 
portionate to the amount of the praise. '^ The reporter, one of 
the best of fellows, said that "whoever told the judge that infor- 
mation had told him the truth ! " "Let us have the scale," said 

Mr. Justice Keogh. So Mr. X , looking very thoughtful, 

said that the scale was simple ; that when the public were informed 
that " such a gentleman appeared as counsel for the prisoner,''' 
that announcement was attended with no charge ; but when 
" counsel addressed the jury in an able and eloquent speech," 
that was one guinea; "able and eloquent, followed by loud 
applause, which was instantly suppressed by the Court," two 
guineas; and "able and eloquent, followed by loud applause, in 
which his lordship joined,^' three guineas. 

Alas ! with what pleasure I look back to those happy evenings, 
to "those Attic nights and refections of the gods," which can 
never more return ! Mr. Concannon was appointed Queen's 
Counsel in 1868, and never did the gaining of a step in the pro- 
fession give more general satisfaction, for never was there a man 
more generally beloved than he was. He was kind, courteous, and 
hospitable, and had he lived, would assuredly have obtained a prize 
in the legal lottery. But his health failed him, and he died in 
May, 1869, regretted by all who knew him. 

In the " Irish Times '' of the morning after his funeral, the 
following paragraph appeared : — 

" The funeral of this respected gentleman, which took place yesterday, was 
an exceedingly large one. Seldom has passed from the ranks of the bar one 
more deservedly regretted than Henry Concannon, who, though energetic in 
his clients' cause, was never known to wound the feelings of those he 
was opposed to. The eldest son of Edmund Concannon, of Waterloo, in 
the County Galway, he graduated in Trinity College, Dublin, in 1838, was 
called to the bar in 1839, appointed Queen's Counsel on the 13th of May, 
1868, and died on the 16th of May, 1869. By his decease the Crown 
Prosecutorship for the County of Sligo, and the supernumerary Crown Pro- 
secutorship for the County Galway have become vacant, as also the office of 



Counsel to the General Post Office. Mr. Concannon was married in 1854 to 
Countess Maria de Lusi, granddaughter of Lady Gifford, who, on her second 
marriage, in 1805 became Marchioness of Lansdowne. Amongst those who 
attended the funeral were the Lord Chancellor, and several of the Judges, 
and all the members of the Connaught bar, and many of the aristocracy of 
the County of Gal way, his native county." 

On the 14tli of June following, at the Annual Meeting of the 
Connaught Bar, the following resolution was unanimously adopted : 

"That our Secretary do convey to Mrs. Concannon the sincere condo- 
lence and sympathy of the Connaught Bar on the irreparable loss she has 
sustained by the lamented death of her husband, the late Henry Concannon, 
Q.C., LL.D., who was so long an esteemed and distinguished member of this 

A.D. 1878. — Mr. Gerald FitzGibbon in this year resigned his 
place in the Court of Chancery. He was born on the 1st January, 
1793, and was called to the bar in 1830. He chose the Connaught 
Circuit; but some depreciatory remarks made by him caused his 
rejection in 1831. Courageous and indomitable, Gerald FitzGibbon 
was not the man to be disheartened or turned aside from his pur- 
pose. He went the Circuit, despite of every opposition ; and the 
very severity that prevented others from holding a brief along with 
him only served to render more conspicuous his talents, learning, 
and indefatigable energy. Rapidly he rose into notoriety, and an 
extensive practice soon rewarded merits such as his. Indeed, 
so pronounced was his success, that in 1836, on the motion of 
Mr. Keatinge, q.c, seconded by James H. Blake, q.c, he was 
elected a member of the Connaught Circuit. In 1843 he was 
retained for the defence in the memorable State Trials, and among 
that mighty bar Mr. FitzGibbon held a distinguished place. We 
shall not here repeat the story we have told elsewhere of the chal- 
lenge that was sent on that occasion to Mr. FitzGibbon by the 
Attorney- General of the day. (Vide supra, p. 230;. His plodding, 
painstaking industry, his penetrating acumen, his thorough know- 
ledge of law, and skill in technicalities, were eagerly sought in 
every trial of any importance. An able and persuasive speaker, 
it was by closely-reasoned arguments rather than by lofty oratory 
he sought success. Clear-sighted in his mastery of the points at 
issue, their minutest details were ever threaded by his patient. 


and sagacious scan. The vigour and earnestness of FitzGibbon 
were characteristics specially alluded to in the celebrated " Voice 
of the Bar " (1850) ; and to hear and to see that learned counsel 
and Walter Bourke, q.c, arrayed one against the other, each 
with the " war-paint '^ on, was an exhibition worthy of remem- 
brance : for neither yielded to the other in zeal for his client, 
and both were possessed of an amount of sarcastic ammuni- 
tion that they were not slow in utilizing. So in a case where the 
Sergeant was for the defendant, at the Galway Assizes, 1860, he 
spoke from ten o'clock until three, for five consecutive hours ; 
and at three Walter thus commenced : — " Gentlemen of the Jury, 
there was a time, when I was a little boy, I used to go into 
Castlebar every day almost, to see an old woman who used to sit at 
her own door spinning, spinning, spinning, from morning until 
night ; for, gentlemen, she had made a vow on a Christmas night 
to spin for a neighbouring convent for a year and a day, and from 
sunrise till sunset, so many suits of altar cloths, albs, and sur- 
plices, as she could spin in that time ; but she forgot on Christ- 
mas night that the days would soon lengthen, and whilst on St. 
Stephen's day she spun from half-past eight in the forenoon to 
half-past three in the afternoon, on St. John's day in June she 
commenced her spinning at half-past three o'clock in the morning, 
and there she was with her spinning-wheel [here Mr. Bourke 
imitated the action of the spinner] — boo-woo, boo-woo, boo-woo, 
spinning, spinning, spinning; and at half-past eight o'clock 
in the evening the hum of the wheel ceased, she packed up 
her duds, and exclaimed, * Thanks be to God, the longest day 
must have an end.' And now, gentlemen, there's not one of you 
that won't sympathise with that old lady and with me, and in your 
sympathies exclaim, * Thanks be to God, the longest speech must 
have an end.'" Mr. FitzGibbon was elected a Bencher of King's 
Inns in 1858, was appointed a Sergeant-at-law in 1859, and in 
1860 was raised to the dignity of Keceiver Master in Chancery. 
Not legal knowledge alone, but practical sagacity, was here re- 
quired, and never were the functions of Receiver Master performed 
with more indefatigable attention and marked judicial ability 
than by Master FitzGibbon. At last, in April, 1878, he resigned 
office, and passed away, at the patriarchal age of ninety years, on 



the 27tli September, 1882. His name survives, however, to us, in 
the judicial eminence and brilliant talents of his son, the Lord 
Justice of Appeal. 

A.D. 1882.— Walter M. Bourke, Esq., joined in the year 1862 
our Circuit — one whose melancholy end, in after years, created 
sympathy and sensation throughout the civilised world. He 
was the nephew of Walter Bourke, Esq., q.c, of the Carrokeel 
family, in the County of Maj^o. A pupil of the Jesuits at Clon- 
gowes-wood College, he was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, 
and won during his University career several prizes in English 
literature, and then turned his attention to the study of the law. 
He was acquainted with some of the languages of the East, espe- 
cially the Sanscrit, and wrote a paper on the Vedas, and throws a 
deal of light on the subject of the Kamayana, the great epic poem 
which deals with the descent of Vishnu, for the purpose of averting 
the threatened destruction of the world by the prince of the demons, 
Havana. Mr. Bourke then stood an examination in Oriental lite- 
rature, and took the i&rst prize, and won an appointment of some 
seven or eight hundred a-year in India. This, however, he was 
unable to retain, being a few months over the limited age. He 
then joined the Connaught Circuit, where he would probably have 
done well ; but immediate fortune was the object of his ambition — 
wealth in youth, when he could enjoy it ; not wealth in old age, 
when wealth cannot be enjoyed. He, therefore, left the Circuit for 
the golden East, and set sail for Calcutta, taking little with him 
but the testimonials of the Provost of Trinity College, of the 
Judges, and of the Catholic Prelates. He was soon admitted to 
the Calcutta bar, and joined the reporting staff of the local Law 
Reports. He quickly found that he had to toil there too ; but a 
lucky accident, of w4iich his abilities enabled him to avail himself, 
pushed him to the front. The Catholic Archbishop entrusted him 
with several cases, which he conducted wdth zeal and ability, and 
with a knowledge of the language of the country, which is naturally 
an invaluable adjunct to an Lidian barrister. The natives, seeing 
the European lawyer able to hold converse directly with themselves, 
soon employed him ; and before he had been two years in the East, 
he was in receipt of an income of three thousand a-year. Later 
on, while the Catholics of every country in the world were pouring 


in their congratulations on the Juhilee of Pius IX., Walter M. 
Bourke was selected by a number of his India friends to carry to 
the Holy Father their felicitations on that the fiftieth anniversary 
of his ordination. He came to Kome, was received at the Palace 
of the Vatican^ and presented the address and rich offerings of his 
Eastern friends. He returned to India, and persevered in his pro- 
fessional labours ; and having accumulated a considerable sum of 
money, invested it in the purchase of Kahassane Park, in the 
County of Galway. A Cain and Abel state of society — a bloody 
and barbarous civil warfare — such as had existence within the 
limits of no other country on the surface of the globe — followed 
during the following years. Among savage tribes, when the 
hatchet of war is displayed, the cruelties and tortures exercised upon 
enemies are proverbial ; yet amongst themselves the fraternal pipe 
of peace is never extinguished. Here in Ireland, society was 
shaken to its foundations, and Kibbonism and landlord-shooting 
rose in the ascendant. It was then vain for the law to pretend to 
punish, to intimidate, or even to try the perpetrators of noonday 
murders ; for even in the hallowed courts of justice the demon of 
Kibbonism, like a ghastly spectre, significantly stood, threatening 
the witness who would dare to give evidence against the murderer, 
and the jurors who would dare to convict in accordance with the 
evidence. Poor Walter Bourke returned from the land of the 
Pagans to the land of the Christians, and since his return he had 
taken up his residence at Eahassane Park ; and from Eahassane — 
it was on the morning of Thursday, the 8th of June, 1882 — he 
proceeded to the neighbouring town of Gort, accompanied by a 
soldier, for it was known that his life was in danger, and the sol- 
dier had been told off for his guard. But the assassins were 
on the walk, and on his return, and on the high road, and in the 
light o,f the clear day, they shot him, with his guard, dead on the 
spot, and from behind a wall that they had loopholed for the 
purpose, and where men were passing and repassing. Thus, 
was he, by a Christian's hand, of life deprived — 

'' Cut oflf even in the blossoms of his sin, 
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd ; 
No reckoning made, but sent to his account 
With all his imperfections on his head. 
Oh, horrible ! oh, horrible ! most horrible ! " 


Absenteeism, the bane of this island, found little of favour at 
the bands of the Connaught judges. Mr. Justice Keogh, thus, at 
the Summer Assizes of 1869,^ addressed the Grand Jury of the 
County of Galway : — 

*' The Law Life Assurance Company, gentlemen, is an absentee 
corporate body, who carry on their business in London, and who 
never come to this country. They are the owners of vast estates 
in this county and in the County of Mayo. Yet they never disturb 
their repose by contributing to the comforts or looking to the 
interests of their tenants. The term * absentee' is an odious term — 
a person who derives his income in one country, but resides in 
another, where he expends that income. The common voice of 
mankind says that this is an evil and an injustice. It points to 
lands imperfectly cultivated, to labourers inadequately employed, 
to ruined cottages, to uneducated children ; and it proclaims that 
these things would not be if the proprietor resided upon his 
estate." ^j 

It is not unworthy of remark, that whilst absenteeism is, and 
always was, the evil described by the learned judge, the English 
Parliament over and over again sought to apply a remedy to correct 
that evil ; thus in the reign of Henry II. (though the Act was never 
printed),^ an Act was passed, whereby it was enacted that absentees 
should dwell on their estates in Ireland, otherwise the Government 
should dispose of half their living.^ The great Absentee Act was 
that passed by the English Parliament in the first year of the reigu 
of Eichard IL, whereby a tax of two-thirds of their income was 
imposed upon absentees. The Absentee Act of 28 Henry VIII. 
went farther still ; for after reciting the evils of an absentee proprie- 

1 "Irish Times," July 24, 18(59. 

2 " Many of our Statutes in Ireland were never printed. (Vide the list 
of unprinted Statutes in the Carew MSS.) Thus the famous Statute of Kil- 
kenny, 40 Edward III., of which there is a copy in French in the Lambeth 
Library, is unprinted, and is not even on the Roll of the Statutes, though 
amended by other Acts ; for it was lent out by Lord Aungier, Master of the 
Kolls, in 1630, and lost. 

' Vide Coke's Institutes, word " Ireland," chap. Ixxvi., p. 376* 


tary, it confiscated in 1537 the Irish estates of Thomas Howard, 
third Duke of Norfolk, and several others therein mentioned. 
While Mr. Justice Keogh was thus declaiming in the Crown Court, 
Mr. Justice (now Lord) Fitzgerald was trying, in the Record Court, 
an action for libel, the particulars of which it is needless here to 
mention; suffice it to say that the duties of landlords to- their 
tenants cropped up there also. Mr. Robinson, q.c. (now the first 
Sergeant) was the leading counsel on the tenant's side for the 
plaintiff; and the late Mr. Carleton, q.c, was leading counsel for 
the defendant. The one side insisted that the tenants had been 
processed on the 2nd of November for rents accruing due on 
the day next before. This was denied by the other; but the 
jury found for the plaintiff, and the foreman, Mr. Xaverius Butler, 
addressing his lordship, said that *' the jury could not separate 
without expressing their abhorrence of the system of perpetually 
harassing the tenants with processes that were proved to exist on 

the — estate. That was the feeling of the jurj^, and they 

were all landlords themselves." 

The learned judge said he fully concurred in the observation. 

There can be no manner of doubt that the ancient gentry of the 
province of Connaught would be incapable of such cruel conduct to 
their tenantry ; and so it appears from a report presented to both 
Houses of Parliament, March, 1870, a great portion of which I 
myself had the honour of drafting for the late Dr. Roughan, with 
whom I was associated in making the inquiries which are thus 
noticed in the " Irish Times " of the 1st of January, 1870 : — 

"From our own Correspondent, Sligo, Friday, 30th December,. 
18G9. — George Roughan, Esq., m.d., accompanied by Oliver J. Burke, Esq., 
Barrisfcer-at-Law, who are at present engaged by orders of the Government 
in making inquiries throughout the several Unions of the Counties of Mayo 
and Sligo, and of the Unions of Clifden and Oughterard, in the County of 
Galway, and of Manorhamilton, in the County of Leitrim, arrived at the 
Imperial Hotel on Monday, and left this day for Ballina. The object of the 
present inquiry is to obtain the most unprejudiced and rehable information 
concerning the present relations between landlords and tenants throughout 
these districts." 

That inquiry was commanded by His Excellency Earl Spencer, 
who became the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on the 9th of 



December, 1868. Now, in reference to this declaration of the 
foreman of the jury as to their abhorrence of such cruelty to 
tenants, I find myself, on a kindred subject, in the report men- 
tioned, writing thus, the subject under consideration being, '' Loss 
OF Value of Improvements by Tenants — Increase of Eent in the 
County of Mayo: " — '' The question whether the tenant-farmer has 
lost the value of his improvements by reason of a disproportionate 
increase of rent is one the solution of which it is difficult to arrive 
at. That an increase of rent has, within those latter years, taken 
place, is certain. As a rule, I have found that that class of land- 
lords who may be denominated as the ancient proprietors, do not, 
for many years after improvements, raise their rents. On some 
estates a valuation does not take place for twenty years, on others 
for ten, and others for seven ; and I have met with cases where the 
rent was not raised from time immemorial. The new landlords, as 
a rule, cause a valuation to be made on getting into possession ; and 
it concerns them but little to inquire wherefore or how the estate 
has been improved, provided they receive so much per cent, on their 
capital. Since the establishment of the Incumbered Estates Court, 
tenants innumerable have, by a great disproportionate increase of 
rent, lost the value of their improvements. '^ " On an estate in the 
County of Leitrim, and on another at Maam, in the County of 
Galway, it is usual for the notice to quit to be on the back of the 
receipt for rent ! ^^ 

Another judge. Baron FitzGerald, who had been on the Circuit 
from 1835 to 1859, and who descended the Bench in the year 
1884, after four-and-twenty years' public service, retired into 
private life. When his retirement was officially announced, a 
meeting of the bar was held in the Library of the Four Courts, 
and a parting address was presented to him on their part by the 
then First Sergeant, Mr. Sergeant Sherlock, q.c, as follows : — 

" To THE Hon. Francis A. Fitzgerald, ll.d. 

" Sir, — On our reassembUng at the close of the Summer Vacation, we, 
the Bar of Ireland, miss from the Bench, in your person, a judge who has so 
long presided over us with a dignity, impartiality, and gentle courtesy, our 
sense of which it will be difficult to embody in words. To dwell on the 
judicial qualities universally acknowledged, which have so eminently dis- 



tinguished you, would, we feel, be distasteful to one whose unobtrusiveness 
is well known, and whose advancement has always been unsought by himself, 
and due only to the public appreciation of his talents, learning, and integrity ; 
but whilst so refraining, we cannot suffer you to depart from us without 
expressing our deep sense of the loss which the country will sustain by your 
retirement in the fullness of your powers from the place which you have for 
over twenty years filled — to borrow words which can never be more worthily 
applied — ' without fear and without reproach.' On that Bench we can never 
hope for a purer or more perfect character. Signed on behalf of the bar 
of Ireland. 

"Richard J. Lane (Father.)" 

The Hon. Baron FitzGerald, who was received with long-sus- 
tained applause, and who seemed deeply affected, replied as 
follows : — 

" Parting from active life, and from the friends with whom I have been 
so long associated, is to me a very serious and solemn matter. Even with 
your more than indulgent address before me, my thoughts will turn to the 
many failures and failings of a course of great responsibilities, unusually 
prolonged. But be that as it may, it is natural, and I hoj)e it is right, to take 
comfort and encouragement from the assurance that to the end of this Ions: 
course I have retained the good opinion and good-will of the profession to 
which it is, and ever has been, my pride to have belonged. You have given 
me this assurance, and I gratefully and most gratefully thank you. I can 
truly say, that of the honour of our common profession I have been always 
sensitive. You who are still bearing the burden and heat of the day, have 
maintained its honour, as well as its reputation, in all other respects ; and 1 
hoi)e and believe that they ever will be maintained by those who follow you. 
Once more I thank you." 

We may be allowed to add that the praise of the bar was well 
deserved by the judge. 

The brethren of the Connaught bar had the great pleasure 
of seeing, in the Summer Circuit of 1878, that both of the 
Judges of Assize were from the Connaught Bar Society — Chief 
Justice Morris and Sergeant Robinson, both Benchers of the 
King's Inns. This was not the first time that the learned 
Sergeant filled the office of Circuiting Judge ; for in the next 
preceding year he was associated with Mr. Justice Keogh on the 
Munster Circuit ; since which time he has gone once on the North- 
east and once on the Leinster Circuits as Judge of Assize. The 
North-east must have had for him sad associations, as it w^as that 



to which his near relative, Chief Justice Whiteside, had, for the 
greater part of his professional life, belonged. The North-west 
would have been hallowed by pleasanter memories. He had 
been for many years Chairman of the Counties of T^Tone and 
Cavan on that Circuit, and had received, when he had retired 
from each, addresses of the most gratifying character. The 
bishops of both churches in Kilmore were signatories to the 
Address from Cavan. Sergeant Robinson had previously been 
Chairman of the County of Roscommon, and the conclusion of 
his connexion with that county was marked by a like expres- 
sion of regret.^ But we must not stray from the path we have 

^ Address from the Magistrates of Roscommon, signed by Justices of 
the Peace, on the occasion of the learned gentleman being promoted to the 
Chairmanship of the County of Tyrone : 

" Roscommon, Aiigust, 1863. 

''Dear Sir, — We, the undersigned Magistrates of the County of 
Roscommon, cannot allow you to take your departure from amongst us on 
your removal to another county, without expressing the sentiments of esteem 
and regard which we entertain towards yourself personally, and our admii'a- 
tion of that temper and patience, and of those high professional qualifications 
which you invariably displayed in the investigation of every question brought 
before you in your judicial capacity as Chairman of the Court of Quarter 
Sessions of the county. 

' ' And whilst we feel regret at the loss of that sound advice and assist- 
ance which we always found you ready and able to afibrd as our Chairman, 
that regret is tempered by the reflection that your abilities as a lawyer, and 
your courtesy as a gentleman, have met with their deserved reward in your 
promotion to a first-class county. We now take leave of you, wishing all the 
success in your profession which attends on high professional merit and un- 
swerving integrity. 

" Faithfully yours." 

[Here follow the signatures, seventy in number.] "^^hV 

In the sams spirit is the Address of the magistrates and other gentry of 
the County Tyrone : — 

IF " Dear Sir,— We cannot allow the tie to be severed which for the 
last six years has connected you with with our county, without expressing to 
you the sincere regret which we feel at your departure from amongst us. 

" We are not unaware of the fact that the onerous duties connected with 
the Chairmanship of the Quarter Sessions in the large and populous County 

IT " Dublin Evening Post," 28th July, 1869. 


marked out for ourselves to follow, namely, not to speak of living 
men, for to praise the living, even when praise is due, might 
look like adulation, and to dispraise the living, even if such were 
needful, would give pain. The latter motive, indeed, cannot 
operate ; for we know not whom amongst the living men of the 
Connaught bar to censure. Public spirit, the spirit of their pro- 
fession, the spirit of honour, were never more alive in the hearts 
of their predecessors than they are to-day in those of the living 
members of the Connaught Bar Society. Need it be said, then, 
how willingly we would record the achievements of such men, did 
we not dread that hereafter some one might say that these praises 

of Tyrone, were such as to entrench too much upon your private time, and 
to interfere with your other engagements, and that you have thought it 
desirable to retire to the comparative repose of a less laborious, if less 
important, State appointment. 

" We cannot, however, refrain from a regret that promotion to some 
higher branch of the public service had not been the cause which separated 
you from us— a regret which arises not only from the friendly feeling which 
we entertain towards yourself, but from our unhesitating conviction, that any 
position in your profession which it may be your lot to fill will be benefited 
and adorned by one who has proved himself so excellent a man of business, 
so acute a lawyer, so dignified a judge. 

" These are no idle words ; we speak them with the feeling that they 
are no more than the truth. Wishing you all possible prosperity and 
happiness in every relation of life, 

" We are, dear sir, 

" Yours very faithfully and sincerely." 

[Here follow the signatures of more than eighty Justices of the Peace.] 

The following is an extract from the Address from the noblemen, gentry, 
and magistrates of the County Cavan, presented to the learned Sergeant on 
the occasion of his retiring from the Chairmanship of that county. After 
expressing their regret at parting, it thus proceeds — '* Your decisions have 
invariably been guided by equity and justice, emanating from your sound 
knowledge of the law, and the determination not to swerve from that 
impartial course which has gained for your judgments the satisfaction of all 
parties. When we were associated with you on the Bench, we had the 
advantage of your experience, judgment, and courtesy. In conclusion, we 
hope soon to see your higher advancement on that Bench to which your 
learning has already rendered you an ornament." The address was signed 
by seventy-six signatories.lT 

IT "Daily Express," 22nd April, 1878. 



were due rather to our partiality than to their deserts? It is, 
therefore, not fitting for us, and we regret it, to come nearer to the 
present time ; but we have this consolation, that the future his- 
torian of the bar of Ireland must give much of praise to the Con- 
naught bar of the second half of the nineteenth century. 


{ 389 ) 


Cromwell's Act for "the Settling of Ireland." 

12th August, 1652. 

Whereas the Parliament of England, after expense of much blood and 
treasure, for the suppression of the horrid rebellion in Ireland, have, by the 
good hand of God upon their undertakings, brought that affair to such an 
issue as that a total reducement and settlement of that nation may, with 
God's blessing, be effected. To the end, therefore, that the people of that 
nation may know that it is not the intention of Parliament to extirpate that 
whole nation, but that mercy and pardon, both as to life and estate, may be 
extended to all husbandmen, plowmen, labourers, artificers, and others of 
the inferior sort, in manner as is hereafter declared, they submitting them- 
selves to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England, and living 
peaceably and obediently under their government ; and that others also of 
a higher rank and quality may know the Parliament's intention concerning 
them, according to the respective demerits and considerations under which 
they fall. Be it enacted and declared by the present Parliament, and by 
the authority of the same, That all and every person and persons of the 
Irish nation, comprehended in any of the following qualifications, shall be 
liable to the penalties and forfeitures herein mentioned and contained, or be 
made capable of the mercy and pardon therein extended respectively, as is 
hereafter expressed and declared, that is to say : 

1. — That all and every person and persons, who at any time before the 
10th day of November, 1642, being the time of the sitting of the first 
General Assembly at Kilkenny, in Ireland, have contrived, advised, coun- 
selled, or promoted the rebellion, murders, and massacres done or committed 
in Ireland, which began in 1641, or have at any time before the said 10th 
day of November, 1642, by bearing arms, or contributing men, arms, horses, 
plate, money, victuals, or other furniture or habiliments of war (other than 
which they shall make to appear to have been taken from them by mere 
force and violence), aided, excited, permitted, prosecuted, or abetted the 


APPENDIX-^" settlement;' 1652. 

said rebellion, murders, and massacres, be exempted from pardon of life and 

2. — That all and every person or persons who at any time before the 1st 
day of May, 1643, did sit or vote in the said first General Assembly, or in 
the first pretended Council, commonly called '■' The Supreme Council of the 
Confederate Catholics in Ireland," or were employed as secretary or chief 
clerk, to be exempted from pardon of life and estate. 

3. — That all and every Jesuit priest, and other persons, who have re- 
ceived orders from the Pope or See of Rome, or any authority from the 
same, that have any ways contrived, advised, counselled, promoted, con- 
tinued, or abated, or at any time hereafter shall in any wise contrive, advise, 
counsel, or promote rebellion, or any of the murders or massacres, rob- 
beries or felonies, committed against the Protestant English, or others, there 
be exempted from pardon for life and estate. 

4. — That James Butler, Earl of Ormond ; James Talbot, Earl of Castle- 
haven ; Ulick Burke, Earl of Clanrickarde ; Christopher Plunket, Earl of 
Fingal ; James Dillon, Earl of Koscommon ; Richard Nugent, Earl of 
Westmeath ; Morogh O'Brien, Baron of Inchiquin ; Donogh McCarthy, 
Viscount Muskerry ; Richard Butler, Viscount Mountgarrett ; Theobald 
Taaffe, Viscount Taafi'e, of Corren ; Rock, Viscount Fermoy ; Montgomery, 
Viscount Montgomery, of Ards ; Magennis, Viscount of Iveagh ; Fleming, 
Baron of Slane ; Dempsey, Viscount Glanmaleene ; Bermingham, Baron 
of Athenry ; Oliver Plunket, Baron of Louth ; Robert Barnewall, Baron of 
Trimleston ; Myles Bourke, Viscount Mayo ; Connor Magwire, Baron of 
Enniskillen ; Nicholas Preston, Viscount Gormanstown ; Nicholas Netter- 
ville. Viscount Netterville, of Louth ; John Bramhall, late Bishop of Derry 
(with eighty-one baronets, knights, and gentlemen, by name) be exempted 
from pardon of life and estate. 

5. — That all and any persons and person (both principal and accessories), 
who since the 1st of October, 1641, did kill, slay, or otherwise destroy any 
person or persons in Ireland, who, at the time of their being so killed, slain, 
or destroyed, were not publicly in arms as officers or private soldiers for or 
on behalf of the English against the Irish, and all and every person and per- 
sons (both principals and accessories) who since the said 1st day of October, 
1641, have killed, slain, or otherwise destroyed any officers or private 
soldiers for or on behalf of the English against the Irish (the said persons so 
killing, slaying, or otherwise destroying not being officers or private 
soldiers under the command of the Irish against the English) be excepted 
from pardon for life and estate. 

6. — That all and every person or persons in Ireland that are in ai'ms, or 
otherwise in hostility against the Parliament of the Commonwealth of 
England, and shall not, within 28 days after the publication hereof by the 



Deputy-General of Ireland, and the Commission for the Parliament, lay 
down and submit to the power and authority of said Parliament and Com- 
monwealth, as the same is now established, be exempted from pardon of life 
and estate. 

7. — That all other person and persons (not being comprehended in any of 
the former qualifications) who have borne command in the war of Ireland 
against the Parliament of England, or their forces, as General, Lieutenant- 
General, Major-General, Commissary-General, Colonel, Governor of any 
garrison, castle, or fort, or who have been employed as Receiver-General or 
Treasurer of the whole, nation, or any province thereof, Commissary- 
General of musters or provisions, Marshal-General, or Marshal of any pro- 
vince, Advocate to the army. Secretary to the Council of War, or to any 
general of the army, or of any the several provinces, in order to carrying on 
the war against the Parliament or their forces, he banished during the 
pleasure of the Commonwealth of England, and their estates forfeited and 
disposed of as foUoweth (viz.): — That two-third parts of their respective 
estates be tahen and disposed of for the use and benefit of the said Common' 
w&alth, and that the other third part of the said respective estates, or other 
lands, to the proportion and value thereof (to be assigned in such places in 
Ireland as the Parliament, in order to the more effectual settlement of the 
peace of this nation, shall think fit to appoint for that purpose) be respec- 
tively had, taken, and enjoyed by the wives and children of the said persons 
respectively. — {Vide supra, p. 50.) 

8. — That the Deputy-General and Commissioners of Parliament have 
power to declare that such person or persons as they shall judge capable of 
the Parliamentary mercy (not being comprehended in any of the former 
qualifications) who have borne arms against the Parliament of England, or 
their forces, and have laid down arms, or, within 28 days after the publi- 
cation hereof by the Deputy-General of Ireland and the Commissioners for 
the Parliament, shall lay down arms and submit to the power and authority 
of the said Parliament and Commonwealth, as the same is now established 
(by promising and engaging to be true to the same)^ shall be pardoned for 
their lives, but shall forfeit their estates to the said Commonwealth, to be 
disposed of as followeth (viz.) : — Two-third parts thereof in three equal parts 
to be divided for the use, benefit, and advayitage of the said Commonwealth, 
and the other third part of the said respective estates, or other lands, to the 
proportion or value thereof (to be assigned in such places in Ireland as the 
Parliament, in order to the more effectual settlement of the peace of the 
nation, shall think fit to appoint for that purpose), be enjoyed by the said 
persons, their heirs and assigns respectively ; provided. That in case the 
Deputy-General and Commissioners, or either of them, shall give cause to 
give any shorter time than 28 days unto any person or persons in arms, 
or any garrison, castle, or fort in hostility against the Parliament, and 
shall give notice to such person or persons in arms, or in any garrison. 

842 APPENDIX.— .^th, 10th, d llih QUALIFICATIONS. 

castle, or fort, That all and every such person and persons who shall not, 
witliin such time as shall be set down in such notice, surrender such 
garrison, castle, or fort to the Parliament, and lay down arms, shall have 
no advantage of the time formerly limited in this qualification. j| 

9.-^That all and every person and persons who have resided in Ireland 
at any time from the 1st of October, 1641, to the 1st day of March, 1650, 
and have not been in actual service of the Parliament at any time from the 
1st of August, 1649, to the said 1st of March, 1650, or have not otherwise 
manifested their constant good affections to the interest of the Commonwealth of 
England (the said persons not being comprehended in any of the former 
qualifications) shall forfeit their estates in Ireland to the said Common- 
wealth, to be disposed of as foUoweth (viz.) : — One third part thereof for the 
use, benefit, and advantage of the said Comtnonivealth, and the other two parts 
of their respective estates, or other lands, to the proportion or value thereof {to 
be assigned in such places in Ireland as the Parliament, for the more effec- 
tual settlement of the peace of the nation, shall think fit to appoint for that 
purpose) be enjoyed by such person or persons, their heirs or assigns, re- 
spectively. — {Vide page 51.) 

10. — That all and every person and persons (having no real estate in 
Ireland, nor personal estate to the value of ten pounds) that shall lay down 
arms, and submit to the power and authority of the Parliament by the time 
limited in the former qualification, and shall take and subscribe the engage- 
ment to be true and faithful to the Commonwealth of England, as the same 
is now established, within such time and in such manner as the Deputy- 
General and Commissioners for the Parliament shall appoint and direct such 
persons (not being excepted from pardon, nor adjudged for banishment by 
any of the former qualifications) shall be pardoned for life and estate, for 
any act or thing by them done in prosecution of the war. 

11. — That all estates declared by the qualifications concerning rebels or 
delinquents in Ireland to be forfeited, shall be construed, adjudged, and 
taken, to all intents and purposes, to extend to the forfeitures of all estates 
tail, and also of all rights and titles thereunto which since the 5th and 20th 
of March, 1639, have been or shall be in such rebels or delinquents, or any 
other, in trust for them or any of them, or their or any of their uses, with 
all reversions and remainders thereupon, in any other person or persons 

And also to the forfeiture of all estates limited, appointed, conveyed, 
settled, or vested in any person or persons declared by the said qualifications 
to be rebels or delinquents, with all reversions or remainders of such 
estates conveyed, vested, limited, declared, or appointed to any, the heirs, 
children, issues, or others of the blood, name, or kindred of such rebels or 
delinquents, with estate or estates, remainder or reversions, since the 25th 
of March, 1639, have been or shall be in such rebels or delinquents, or in 


any their heira, children, issues, or others of the blood, name, or kindred of 
such rebels or delinquents. 

And to all estates granted, limited, appointed, or conveyed by any such 
rebels or delinquents unto any their heirs, children, issue, with all the re- 
versions and remainders thereupon, in any other person of the same blood 
or kindred of such rebels or delinquents. Provided that this shall not 
extend to make void the estates of any English Protestants who have con- 
stantly adhered to the Parliament, which were by them purchased for 
valuable consideration before the 23rd day of October, 1641, or upon like 
valuable consideration mortgaged to them before this time, or to any person 
or persons in trust for them, for satisfaction of debts owing to them." 


Since the printiug of the foregoing pages, changes have taken place 
at the Connaught Bar. In the month of June last, one of the leaders 
on our Circuit, Hugh Hyacinth O'Korke MacDermot, d.l., q.c, styled 
" The Macdermot, Prince of Coolavin," was appointed Solicitor- Gen- 
eral for Ireland. As we speak not of Hving men, we shall not speak 
of him or of his career, however illustrious as a law student or as a 
lawyer ; and shall merely remark that no appointment could have been 
made more acceptable to the Bar, and to those who look on learning in 
the law and unstained honour as conditions precedent to such an ap- 
pointment. It must be a pleasure to every Irishman to see the chief 
of an old Celtic race — a race old amongst the oldest — achieve in his 
own land success such as the scions of Celtic races have often achieved 



Abduction — Tubman v. Kiernan, 83. 

Absenteeism, deplorable evils of, described by Mr. Justice Keogh, 332. 

Act to prevent further growth of Popery, i704) 70* 

"Act of Contrition" said M'ith a sup in, 300. 

Action against a Judge — Ward v. Freeman — for act done by at trial, 276. 

Alexander, Sir Jerome, Justice of the Common Pleas, challenges Sir William Aston, 

Justice. of the King's Bench, to fight a duel, 54. 
Almanack, false, 130. 
Anonymous (Duelling case), 196. 

Armstrong, WiUiam (Father of the Connaught Bar), q.c, 244. 
Ashby V. White, 307. 
Assistant Barristers, first appointment of, 1787, for the trial of criminal cases, 160. 

List of, 166, n. 

Empowered to hear Civil Bills, in 1797, 165. 
Assizes Sermon preached in Church of Castlebar, 1786, 138.] 
Assizes Sunday, 137. 

Athy, one of the fourteen Tribes of Galway, 6. 
Attorney — " House to be let (1706), and not an attorney within twelve miles," 79. 


Bagnal, Marshal, slain by the Irish at the battle of the Yellow Ford, 1598, 16. 
Baker, Mathew, K.c, fights a duel with Richard Everard for demurring to a declara- 
tion he had signed, 243, 244, 
Baldwin, Henry, q.c, memoir of, 240. 

Ball, Nicholas, Justice, c.P., anecdotes of, 262, 284, 290, 29 1, 294, 297. 
Bar Costume, 138, 180. 

Barnewall, Sir Patrick, grantee of Castle Hacket, 50. 
Bar Waiters, 267. 

Barons of the Exchequer ordered into custody by the Irish House of Lords, 81. 
Barrington, Sir Jonah, m.P. for Tuam, 160. 
Barristers excluded from Parliament, temp. Henry VI., 162* 
Beytagh, Edward ffrench, 303. 



Binghanij Mr., fights the Right Hon. Denis Browne, 148. 

Bingham, Sir Richard, Governor of Connaught, 1584, 15. 

Bingham v. Blake, where plaintiff, 1723, a Protestant discoverer, obtains decree to be 
put in possession of defendant's estate because defendant was a " Papist" (a 
Catholic), 95. 

Blake V. Widoiu Wilkins, 198, Breach of Promise — The Widow fljgs her Coun5el,_ 

Blakes, the, one of the fourteen Tribes of Gal way, 6. 

Blake, Anthony Richard (the Remembrancer), memoir of, 237. 

Blake, James Henry, k.c, 229, 240, 244. 
Death of, 261. 

Blake, John, memoir of, 313-317' 

Blake, Sir John, Bart., of Menlough Castle, Gahvay, memoir of, 317. 

Blake, Patrick, Q.c, 262, 303. 

Blakeney, Charles, 277. 

Blakeney, Robert, 187-209. 

Blosset, John, K.c, Father of the Bar, 152-163. 

Bodkins, the, one of the fourteen Tribes of Galway, 6. 

Bodkin V. French, no. 

Bodkins, murder of the, 87. 

Bodkin, Amby, codifies " I^aws of Honour," 105. 

Bottle Riot Case, where a bottle was hurled at the Viceregal Box in the Theeitre 
Royal, 1 82 1, 205. 

Bourke, "Walter, Q.c, anecdotes of, 274, 2S1, 285, 297, 302. 

Bourke, Walter M., murdered, 1882, memoir of, 330. 

Boyd, Abraham, 152. 

Brains, where situate, 298. 

Breach of Promise of Marriage, 198. 

Brecknock, Timothy, trial of, 144; an Attorney of great ability, 129; defends a high- 
way robber ; has false almanack printed to show that there was no moon the 
night it was sworn there was, 130 ; his speech, 131, n. ; executed for complicity 
in the murder of P. R. M'Donnell, 144, 145. 

Brehons, the, 13. 

Brennan v. Sir Toby Butler, where plaintiff, Protestant discoverer, obtains decree for 
the learned defendant's estate, because defendant was a "Papist " (Catholic), 73. 

Brownes, one of the fourteen Tribes of Galway, 6. 

Browne, Arthur, Prime Sergeant, 179. 

Browne, the Right Honourable Denis, 147, 149, 151, 188; without any provocation 
knocks down and fights Bingham, 148. 

Browne, Geoffrey, ancestor to Lord Oranmore, member of the Confederation of 
Kilkenny, 34; Counsel for Connaught Proprietors in 1635 ; one of the envoys 
of the Confederate Catholics to the Duke of Lorraine ; letter from, from Brus- 
sels to Lord Clanricarde in 1651, 36. 

Browne, George J., on the Freeman'^s Journal, 150, 152, 187 ; who was he?, 197. 

Browne, John, ancestor to the Marquis of Sligo, associated with Sir Toby Butler 
and Colonel the Prime Sergeant Dillon in framing Treaty of Limerick, 59-68. 

Browne, Hon. James, Prime Sergeant, wholesome advice to his nephew, the Right 
Hon. Denis Browne, 148. 


INDEX. ' 347 

Burkes, the, 5. 

Burke, Charles Granby, 280. 

Burke, Eileen, case of ; her father's estate of Carrentrila confiscated ; shoots tlie soldiers 
sent to arrest him ; officer in charge falls in love with her ; obtains her pardon 
and restoration of her father to his estates from William III. and Mary, 69 ; 
marries the officer, 70. 

Burke, Francis, ll.d., memoir of 320. 

Burke, Francis, a.m., at Philadelphia Bar, 1768, 321, 322. 

Burke, Oliver, Counsellor, a most amusing man, 17155 7^- 

Burke, Ulick, of Castle Hacket, High Sheriff of the County Galway, 1641, 40; con- 
fiscation of his estates without any crime laid tp his charge, 1656, case of, 48 ; 
sheltered the Protestant Bishop of Killala, 42 ; Letter of the Bishop acknow- 
ledging his and his noble fellow's kindness, 42, 43 ; acknowledged by Lord 
Clanricarde in his Letter to the Lords Justices, 44. 

Burke, Ulick, 150-152. 
First Assistant Barrister of Co. Galway, 166, n. 

Burning petition of a horse, 251. 

Butler, Sir Toby, M.P., Solicitor-General, 60 ; prosecutes Sir Thomas Southwell for 
High Treason at the Galway Assizes, 1689, 62 ; Counsel at the Bar of House of 
Lords for the Catholics against " Act to prevent further growth of Popery," 71 ; 
His County Dublin Estates, because he was a Catholic, taken possession of by a 
Protestant discoverer, 73. 

Byrnes, the, plunder Exchequer, 1300, 3. 


Calendai", Gregorian, 112. 

Carleton, Edward, Counsel, 152. 

Carleton, Hugh, Solicitor-General, Letter of, to Attorney-General, descriptive of 
Castlebar Assizes, 1784, 121. 

Carleton, John W., Q.c, 279, 303. 

Carting Juries to the verge of the county when disagreeing as to verdict, 163-164. 

Casserly, Counsellor, 251 ; fights a duel with Mr. Walker, K.C., in Sligo, on a nice point 
that arose on Registry Appeals, 243. 

Castlebar, Church of, 136. 
Defeat of the English at, in 1798, 174. 

Castle Hacket Estate in 157 1 ; the Estate of Ulick Burke, as found by verdict of Jury 
in 1584, 48 ; Patent of by James I. in 1619 to his grandson Ulick, 49 «.; con- 
fiscated by Cromwell, 50 ; now the Estate of the Kirwans, 318. 

Catholics persecuted ; M. Montesquieu's opinion of the "Popery" Laws, 72 ; Catholic 
children encouraged to conform to Protestant faith, 71 ; Catholics disabled from 
being guardians of children, from purchasing land, from taking leases, from 
taking by primogeniture, from holding any office, from inhabiting Limerick or 
Galway, 7 1 ; from being Barristers, from being Attorneys, from teaching or being 
taught, from being Schoolmasters, from being Private Tutors, from having more 
than two Apprentices, 72 ; from sending their children to foreign countries, 79. 

Catholic Judges removed from the Bench, 1691, 68 ; lawyers, femp. James II., 58. 

Catholics enabled to take leases of bog, 1772, 103 ; once more, 1793, admissible to 
the Bar, 161. 




Catholic Relief Bill, 1829, 221, 306, 309. 

Catholic Churches, Manses, Glebes, owners of limited estates empowered to mal 

leases for, 259. 
Caulfields, of Donamon, of spotless integrity, 76 [Trustees for many Catholics, 

during the Penal laws, of their estates].* 
Caulfield, Justice, William, 76. 

Caulfield, St. George, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, parsimonious, 76. 
Christian, Mr. Justice, 293. 
Circuits, formerly in Israel, 18. 
Connaught, established, 1604, 18 ; ceased to exist in 1650, 35 ; revived, 1661, 53. 

Description of, in 1784, 121, 
In 1786, 135. 
In 1798, 175. 
Circuits, five, previous to 1796, 164. . 

Circuit Towns, Connaught, 19. 
Civil Bills, called English (language) Bills, founded by Lord Strafford, impeached for 

, legal in 1704; Juc'ges of Assize empowered to hear Appeals from, to 

next going Judge, 165 ; Assistant Barristers empowered to hear, 1796, 166. 
Civiliter mortnus, doctrine of, 228. 
Crim. Con., 188. 

Clanricardes, the, shake off. the power of England in the fourteenth century, 5. 
Letters of Earl of, 42-44. 

President of the Connaught Presidency Court, 19. 
Claims, Court of, 57. 

Clare, County, detached from Connaught Circuit in 1796, 164. 
Clare Election, return of O'Connell at, 1828-1829, 307-309. 
Clifford, Sir Conyers, President of Connaught, 1597, slain at the Battle of th< 

Curlew Mountains in 1599, by the Irish, under Bryan Oge O'Rorke, 16. 
Clynn, Friar, Annals, 272. 

Coaches, Public, to Gal way and Sligo, 1808, 188. 
Coif, the explanation of, 180. 
Composition of Connaught, 15. 
Conaghan, Catherine, murder of, 82. 
Concannon, Henry, 271, 277, 282 ; memoir of, 326. 
Concannon, Mathew, Attorney-General for Jamaica in 1745, 97. 
Confederation of Kilkenny, 34. 
Confiscation in Ireland, temp. James I., Cromwell, and "William III., Lord Clare' 

speech on, 69, n. 
Cong, 19. 
Connaught Assistant Barristers, Chairmen, County Court Judges, 167 ; Catholic 

Lawyers, 58. 
Connaught, confiscation of, by Lord Strafford, 22-31. 
Connaught, Vide Circuit. 
Composition of, 15. 
Sheriff of, in thirteenth century, 3. 



* The words within brackets accidentally omitted from the text. 


INDEX. 849 

Connaught — continued. 
Lordship of, 4. 
Presidency Court of, il, 12, 13, 14. 

Abolished, 55. 
Division of, into Counties, 14. 
Granted by Henry IL to William Fitz-Adlem De Burgh, 23-25. 

Conversion of a Cow, 290. 

Converts from " Popery" at the bar not to be trusted, 75. 

Converts, names of, on Convert Roll, Court of Chancery, 112. 

Costs, bill of, to tax, outrageous insult by client to his attorney, and sure to be fol- 
lowed by a horsewhipping and duel in last century, 104. 

Counsellor, how he should behave himself in Court, temp. Edward L, 136, n. 

Counsellors Patrick Darcy and Geoffrey Browne, over busy even unto faction, suspended 
from practising at the bar by Lord Strafford, 29. 

Courtenay, David, challenges Mr. Everard for demurring to his declarations, 243. 

Court-martial in Connaught, 1798, 176. 

Craig, Andrew, murders Patrick Randal M'Donnell, 132. 

Crampton, George Ribton, B.L., 302. 

Crampton, Mr. Justice, memoir of, 299. 

Crawford, George, Judge, Australia, 276. 

Croftoji, Rex v., 97. 

Crofton, Thomas Morgan, 167, ;/. 

Crofton, W., High Sheriff of County Roscommon, refuses to swear Church of Rome 

idolatrous and damnable, 162. 

Crown Rent ? 52. 


D'Alton, John, the Antiquarian, M.R.I. A., 206. 

Dalys of Dunsandle, power of, in Gal way, its rise, decline, and fall explained, 316. 

Daly, Denis, Mr. Justice, C.P., 1690, 6^. 

Daly, St. George, Justice, K.B., 150, 152, 178. 

Daniel, K.c, 208 ; prosecutes, 1822, priest under Popery Acts, 208 ; disgusted at 
holding brief, 209. 

Darcy, one of the fourteen tribes of Galway, 6. 

Darcy, James, ancestor of the Darcys of New Forest, Deputy of Sir Conyers Clif- 
ford, 16. 

Darcy, John, 167, n. 

Darcy, Martin, High Sheriff of County Galway, 1635 5 imprisoned by Lord Strafford, 
and dies in prison, owing to cruel treatment he received, 28. 

Darcy, Patrick, Counsel for the Connaught proprietors in the Connaught inquisitions 
of 1635 ; with him Geoffrey Browne, 23 ; his argument, 25 ; English House of 
Lords claims superiority over the Irish as Court of ultimate appeal ; Patrick 
Darcy's argument against such proposition, 33 ; rejoins the Connaught Circuit 
after its resuscitation in 1661 [vide Circuit], 53 ; second in a threatened duel 
between two of the judges, 1661, 53 ; threatens to horsewhip Sir William Aston, 
Justice of the King's Bench, who wisely runs away, 54 ; death and burial in Kil- 
connell Abbey of Darcy in 1668, 55. 

Davis, Sir John, his outrageous conduct in the Middle Temple, 1597, 18 ; expelled 
the House and disbarred-, restored; Attorney-General for Ireland, 19. 



DeBurgh, Coke Littleton's definition of the word, 4 ; Robert de Burgh, half-broth^ 
of William the Conqueror, his descendants in Ireland, Earls of Ulster, 
Clanricardes, &c., 5 ; William Fitz-Adlem De Burgh obtains grant of Province 
of Connaught, 1179, 23; death of his descendant William de Burgh, Earl of 
Ulster, 1333, leaving one daughter ; chart explanatory of, 24, n. 
Deeds, not memorials, should be registered ; remarkable illustration thereof in case 

tried in Galway, 1841, 254, 255. 
Devil, how patron of the Bar of Brittany, 139. 
Dillon, Gerald, Prime Sergeant, Recorder of Dublin, 59. 
Dillon, Henry, Chief Justice of Connaught, 20. 
Dillon, John Blake, 322 ; memoir of, 325. 

Dillon, Sir Lucas, foreman of Roscommon Jury, Strafford's Inquisition, 27. 
Dillon, Sir Lucas, B.L., member of Confederation of Kilkenny, 34. 
Dillon, Robert, Justice, K.B,, 1569, 15. 
Dillon, Robert, one of the Commissioners of Plantation, 23. 
Dillon, Thomas, Chief Justice of Connaught, 1572, purchases Clonbrock estate, 15,20. 
Distress of 1797, 266, 
Dogherty, Mr., Counsel at Clare Election, 1828, for the Right Hon. Vesey Fitz- 

Gerald, 307. 
Donelan, Sir James, Fellow and m.p., t.c.d., grandson of the Earl of Tyrconnell, 
Chief Justice of Connaught, 22 ; Justice of the Common Pleas, 31, 34, 53 ; life- 
size picture of in possession of his descendant Dermot O'Connor Donelan, 55. 
Donelan, Nehemiah, Chief Baron, 55. 
Donelan, of Ballydonelan, first Catholic Barrister, 161, 209. 
Down Survey, 47. 

Drinking in Bar-room, last century, 224. 
Duel, fatal case of, anonymous, 196. 
Duel threatened between Sir Jerome Alexander, Justice of the Common Pleas, and 
Sir William Aston, Justice of the King's Bench, 54. 
Between an Attorney-General, Thomas Berry Cusack Smith, and Gerald 

Fitz Gibbon, q.c, 1844, averted, 230, 328. 
Between David R. Courtenay and Richard Everard, both Circuit barristers, 

averted, 243. 
Between Charles O'Malley, b.l., and Charles Lever, averted, 253. 
Between Counsellors French and Morgan, 1775, 103. 
Between Counsellors Denis Daly and Patrick Blake, 104. 
Between Counsellor Martin and Counsellor Jordan, 1779, 112, 113. 
Between George Robert FitzGerald and Lieut. Thompson, 116. 
Between George Robert FitzGerald and John Toler (Lord Norbury, c.j.), 117, 
Between George Robert FitzGerald and Csesar French, 116. 
Between George Robert FitzGerald and Colonel Martin, 125. 
Between the Right Hon. Denis Browne and Bingham, 148. 
Between Sir Ulick Burke and Ambrose Bodkin, b.l., 107. 
Between Mr. Baker, k.c, and Mr. Everard, b.l., 243. 
Between Mr. Hillas, Counsel, and his solicitor, 195, 
Between Mr. Walker, k.c, and Mr. Casserly, b.l., 243. 
Between Colonel King and Colonel FitzGerald, 172. 
Duelling, rules as to, 105. 
Duquerry, Sergeant, M.p., a great orator, 182. 



INDEX, 351 


Ears, only cutting off Mr. Bodkin's ears, iii. 

Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, 259. 

Echlin, Dean of Tuam, murder of, 73. 

Ellis, W. H., 167, ;/.; Assistant Barrister Co. Mayo, Co. Sligo, 167 w,, 276-279. 

English power established in Connaught, twelfth century, i. 

Abolished in the fourteenth century, 5. 

Re-established in the sixteenth century, 11. 
Ennis, Court held in Franciscan Abbey, 14. 
Everard (alias Dicky Demurrer), 209, 243, 244. 
Evona, St., a lawyer, legend of, 139. 

Exclusion of Irish Students from English Inns of Court, 181 ; Irish Parliament com- 
plains of to the king, 181. 
Excommunication, writ of, 2. 
Eyre, Colonel, Governor of Galway, flogged by Robert Martyn, of Ballinahinch, 99. 


Fallon, Malachy, 167, «., 209. 

Famine, 1847, 257-265. 

Fees, lawyers', 224. 

FitzGeralds, a family of remote antiquity, legendary to tlie Trojan war, 1 14. 

FitzGerald, Francis, Baron, address of Irish barristers on retiring from the 
Bench, 335. 

FitzGerald, George Robert, career of, I14-121; tried at Assizes of Castlebar, 1784, 
for imprisoning his father; letter of Judge descriptive of the scene, 121-124; 
murder of M'Donnell and Tlipson by Andrew Craig; FitzGerald tried for in- 
citing to murder, 141 ; found guilty on the evidence of the principal, 145 ; 
executed at midnight, 147 ; Mr. Justice Robinson's opinion— murderers mur- 
dered, 148 ; tragic fate of his daughter, 151. 

FitzGibbon, Gerald, Q.C., 244, 262, 291, 303 ; memoir of, 328. 

FitzGerald, Vesey, 307. 

FitzPatrick, William J., 153, 197. 

Five Guinea Speech, the best speech out, 285. 

Flagranio deliciu, 281. 

Forgery, Crofton's Case, 97. 

Fox, Luke J., 181. 

Foy, Case of, 150. 

Frazer, B. L., 291. 

Freeman v. IVard, as to whether Judge who tries a case is liable in an action for acts 
done or omitted to be done at trial, 276. 

French, when language of the law, 166. 

French, Caesar, 118, 119. 

Friars, dicovered, 1715, actually reading mass, tried for, 1724, 81. 


Galway Mail-coach, 188. 
Galway, Mayor of, case, 8. 



Galway jury find against the Crown— Strafford's Inquisition, 27. 

Jury fined ;^48,ooo by Lord Strafford, and imprisoned for so finding, 28. 

Second trial, jury find for the Crown, 30. 
Galway Election Petition, 260. 

Galway Independence, political history of the town, 315. 
(ialway Tailor's Case, 293. 

Galway to Cork in 1759, letter descriptive of the journey, 321. 
Gentleman, what is a, 262. 
Gentry, ancient Connaught, 333. 
Geoghegan, John, of Bunnowen, 152, 163. 
Gomez, murder of, 9. 
Grady v. Hunf, 288. 

Grace, the Bar, before and after dinner, formerly in Latin, 326, 327. 
Guthrie v. Sterne, Crim. Con., Mr. Phillips' speech, 190-194; Lord Norbui 
amusing charge, 194. 


Half-seas Over, Mr. Justice Ball, 297. 

Hagioskope, 109. 

Hardiman, James, Solicitor, 209. 

Hely, C.J., death of, on Circuit, I70l> 70* 

Henn, Jonathan, K.C., memoir of, 203. 

Herodotus, observations concerning, 282. 

Hillas, B.L., shot in a duel by his Attorney, 195. 

Holmes, Mr., anecdote of, 237. 

Hospitalities on Circuit, 168. 

House of Lords, English, Irish, 32. 


Inns of Court, English, Irish Law Students expelled from, 181. 

Irish Parliament, death of, 177. 

Irish Language, Assistant Justice to have knowledge of, 14. 

Italy, Whiteside's, 232. 

Irish Sergeants, how differ from the English, their robes, formerly violet, 180. 


Johnson, Mr. Justice, tried and found guilty of writing libel on the Attorney-General 

Plunket, 185. 
Juries — Hand-to-hand fight in jury room, 163. 
Justice after dinner, 225. 


Keatinge, Richard, K.c, 244; memoir of, 306; Assessor at Clare Election, 1828, 
1829, 308. 

INDEX, 353 

Kelly, Charles, Q.C., i68, 266, 311. 

Kelly, Thomas, Mr. Justice, memoirf [ 5 ). 

Ael/y V. Young, 262. 

Keogh, Mr. Justice, 262, 326, 332 ; memoir of, 255-260. 

Keon found guilty and hanged for murder, 158. 

Killala, Bishop of, escapes Massacre of Shruel ; letter to Lord Clanricarde, 42. 

Kirwan, James, 166, n. ; memoir of, 318. 

Kirwan, John, K.C., rides from Castlebar to French Grove, with his wife behind him 

on a pillion, accompanied by the judges and bar ; memoir of, 168. 
Kirwan, John, the Attorney, 186. 
Kirwan, John Andrew, memoir of, 319. 
Kirwan, Martin, 167, n. 


Latin,' language of the law,' succeeds French, 1 66. 

Law Lords, Lay Lords, 231. 

Lawyer lovers, loving'lines to Bessy, 222. 

Little V. Wingfield, or Moy Fishery Case, 302-305. 

Lynch, Andrew Hany, M.P., memoir of, 240. 

Lynch, Sir Henry, 58. 

Lynch, Martin ffrench, 161, 187 ; Lynch, 6, 209, 210. 


MacCarthy, Charles, 152. 

MacDonnell, Patrick Randal, murder of, 132. 

Maley's (General) Case, 295. 

Malley, George Orme, Q.C., 303. 

Martyn v. Eyre, 100. 

Martin, B.L., assaulted by Sir John Davys, 19. 

Martin, Richard, m.p,, of Ballinahinch, shoots James Jordan, B.L., 113. 

Martin, Robert, of Ballinahinch, kills Lieutenant Jolly, 85 ; chastises Colonel Eyre, 


Martyn, Peter, Mr. Justice, C.P., 58. 

MacDermott, 163. 

Mass — Priests discovered actually reading Mass, 79. 

Mayo Jury finds for the^Crownin Strafford's Inquisitions, 27. 

Mayo, Viscount, Trial and Execution in Gal way of, 1652, 39. 

Mayor of Galway, case of, 9. 

Meal (mail), Indian, robbeiy of, 284. 

Memorials of Deeds, Registration of, 255. 

Mind, where situated if not in the head, 298. 

Monahan, James Henry, Chief Justice, C.P., 235, 254, 262, 291, 309; memoir of, 312. 

Morani, Signor, bar waiter, 267- 

Morris, Michael, Chief Justice, C.P., 262, 313. 

Moy Fishery Case, 305. 

Mushroom nobility insulted, 178. 

A A 



Maguire, Rev. Thomas, p.p., murder of, 271. 
M'Nevin, Thomas, b.l., 324. 


Naish, Right Hon. John, Lord High Chancellor of Ireland, 270. 
North, John, k.c, m.p., 204-209. 


Oaths, 301. 

O'Carroll, Redmond P., anecdote of, 269. 

O'Conor or O'Connor, 287, 151. 

C Connelly Rex v., 231. 

O'Connell, anecdotes of, 260, 306. 

** Oh ! no, they never mention me," 281. 

O^Finan v. Cavendish^ action by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Killala against for 

libel, 244. 
O'Hara, Charles, 150. 
O'Hara, James, 150. 

O'Hara, beautiful Miss, married to Nicholas Martin, 1778, no. 
O'Malley, Charles, memoir of, 252. 


Palmer, Sir Roger, m.p., 94. 

Papa fighting, 108. 

Papist, a dangerous, 93. 

Papist, Will of, relapsed, jury find for, 109, no. 

Parliamenttim Indoctum, 162. 

Paterson, B. L., 150. 

Philadelphia bar, 1768, 322. 

Phillips, Charles, 188, 189 ; flogged by his client, Mrs. Wilkins, 202, 203. 

Picnic, Bar, at Sligo, 273. 

Pillions, lawyers' wives mounted on, early in the present century, 168, 

Pipe Roll, what ?, 239. 

Plunket, John, b.l., 236. 

" Polarity speech " of a learned judge misreported, 283. 

Popery Cases, 73, 81, 95, 109, no, 208. 

"Popery Laws," 71, 72, 73. 

Potato rot, 1846, 265. 

Pot-luck, 78. 

Poynings' Law, 32. 

Presidency Court of Connaught in 1569, 13. 

Prime Sergeantcy abolished, 179. 

Prior of St. Dominic v. Archbishop of Tuam, 2. 

Progressive Development, M. De Lamarque's theory, 275. 

Pugnacious Attorney-General, 1844, 230. 

Purcell's Acre, Case of, 288. 

INDEX. 355 


Queen Victoria, 94, 26$. 

Queen's (King's) Counsel, late invention, 180. 

Their gowns the mourning gowns of the Sergeants, 181. 
Queen's enemies, 272. 
Quit Rent, what is ?, 52. 
Quo Warranto, 96. 


Rebellion, 1641, 33; 1798, 174> I75» 176. 

Religious element in the jury box, 291. 

Religious strifes, 288. 

Reporter, a learned, 280 ; a stupid, 283 ; scale of fees, 327. 

Reports, Connaught Circuit, Judges' Legal Reporters, 256. 

Reynolds, George Nugent, murder of, 151, 152. 

Rex V. Bodkin^ 87. 

Rex V. Brecknock^ 144. 

Rex et Reg. v. Bttrke, 69. 

Rex V. Croft on, 97. 

Rex V. Cnffe, 228. 

Rex V. Fenton, 195-6. 

Rex V. George Robert Fitz Gerald, 141. 

Rex V. Foy, 150. 

-^^^ V. The Friars, 81. 

/?^^ V. Keon, 152. 

^^x V. Kieran, 83. 

i?^;c V. King, 1 70. 

y?(?^ V. Robert Martin, 85. 

i'?^;^ V. APCann, 213. 

7?^^ V. M'Dearmad, 163. 

Rex V. M'Donough and others, 187. 

jff^;c V. APGinty, 227. 

^<?;tr V. APGtnmiess; 210. 

/?^;i; V. Morelly, loi. 

Rex y. O'Connell, 2:^1. 

Rex V. O'Connor, 208. 

^^jif V. Ormsby, 82. 

^^x V. Sotithivell, Sir Thomas, 62. 

Robinson, James, A.M., First Sergeant-at-Law, 167, «., 303, 335, 336, 337. 

Roscommon Jury find for the Crown in Straflford's Inquisitions, 29. 

Ryves, Attorney- General for Ireland, 23. 


Scarlet colour of the Judges' robes, 180. 
Scott, Mr., K.C., anecdote of, 237, 244. 
Scrimmage, what ?, 295. 

Seduction of the Hon. Mary King by Colonel FitzGerald, 170 ; seducer shot dead by 
her father and brother, 172. 



Sending deponent's soul to' hell, '296. 

Sergeants, Irish, 80. 

Sheriff in league with defendant, 297. 

Sharkey, 167, ;/. 

Shell, Richard Lalor, K.C., counsel for Mr. O'Connell at Clare Election, 1828, 30J 

Sherlock v. Anitesiey, 17 19, 80. 

Shruel, massacre of, 1641, 40. 

Sidney, William J., q.C, 303. 

Simpson v. Moimt morris, 161. 

Sligo mail-coach started in 1808, 188. 

Sligo jury find for the Crown in Strafford's Inquisitions, 27. 

Snuff-box, Bar, 279. 

Speech, the longest, must have an end, 329. 

Stanley, Sergeant, 144, 163, 169. 

Strafford, Earl of. Inquisitions, 22-31. 

Letter of, descriptive of the trials, 28. 
Surlock, Walter, Attorney-General of Connaught, 17. 


Tenebrse, service of, Sistine Chapel, Mr. Whiteside's description of, 232. 

Thelwall v. Yeherton^ 233. 

Threshers, 187, 188. 

Toomey, Eslale of, $1. 

Tour in Connaught in 1552 by Lord Chancellor Cusack, 11. 

Tribes, fourteen, of Galway, 6. 

Tuam, Archbishop of, Prior of Si. Dominic, v., 2. 

Tuam, Sir Jonah Barrington, m.p. for, 160. 

Twenty-two o'clock, 274. 


Ulster, Earls of, 4, 24, n. , 25. 

Union of Great Britain and Ireland, 177. 

Unprinted Statutes, 332, 11. 


Vandeleur, Mr. Justice, 209. 

Valetta, capital of Malta, 283. 

Venue motion, 293. 

Verses, loving, by lawyers, 223. 

Vicissitudes of families, 269. * 

Victoria, Queen, an authoress ; Her Majesty's kindly observations on Prince 

Charles, 94 ; her works of mercy during famine of 1847, 265. 
Violet, 180. 
" Voice of the Bar," 243. 

INDEX. 357 


Waggoner, Circuit, 221. 

Walker, K.c, 243. 

Walsh, Mr,, the Schoolmaster, 304. 

War-paint on Sergeant FitzGibbon and Walter Bourke, Q.c, 329. 

Ward \. Freeman, 2'j'j. 

Warren, Sergeant, 279. 

Wellington, Duke of, health proposed in Bar-room, 251. 

West, Henry, Q.C, 167, n. 

Whiteside, Right Hon. J., c.j., memoir of, 229. 

West, John Beatty, K.c, m.p., 244, 261. 

Widows' rights, poetic counsel on, 223. 

Williams, K.C, 152. 

Winter v. Birmingham, plaintiff, being a Protestant, obtains possession of defendant's 

estate, defendant being a Catholic, 1722, 95. 
Witness civiliter mortuiis, how resuscitated, 228. 
Workman, John Henry, 256. 


Youngy Kelly v., 262. 

Chari.fs W. Gibbs, Printer, Dublin. 











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